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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 675

Paragraph Numbers 547 to 556

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 75


547 Between 1990 and 1992 there were 112 massacres in the Transvaal. The number of massacres and the resultant death tolls escalated steadily during this period. Twenty-five incidents occurred in 1990, forty-four in 1991 and forty-three in 1992. The death tolls for these years were 217 in 1990, 403 in 1991 and 334 in 1992.

548 The major massacres occurring between 1990 and 1993 were part of the so-called ‘Reef township war’. Among them were:

a the Sebokeng massacre on 22 July 1990 (twenty-seven killed);

b the Tembisa Vusimuzi hostel massacre on 12 September 1990 (twenty-five hostel residents killed);

c the Jeppe Station train attack, Johannesburg, on 13 September 1990 (twenty-six commuters killed);

d the Thokoza Hostel attack on 2 December 1990 (thirty residents killed);

e the Sebokeng Funeral Vigil attack on 12 January 1991 (thirteen people killed);

f the Gobizitwna Beer Hall attack, Sebokeng on 23 May 1991 (thirteen people killed);

g the Alexandra Funeral Vigil massacre on 12 May 1992 (fifteen people killed);

h the Swanieville squatter settlement massacre, Kagiso on 12 May 1991 (twenty-eight people killed);

i the Thokoza hostel attack in May 1993 (sixteen hostel residents killed);

j the Crossroads squatter camp massacre, Katlehong on 3 April 1992 (twentyone people killed;

k the Boipatong massacre, Vaal on 17 June 1992 (forty people killed).

549 In the Vaal, the conflict was triggered by an ANC rally on 2 July 1990. The IFP alleged that speaker after speaker resolved to remove all IFP members from the Vaal townships and to act against the IFP in support of a week-long campaign protesting against the ongoing conflict and violence in KwaZulu-Natal. In the days following the rally, it alleged that ANC-aligned youths attacked the homes and businesses of people perceived to be supporters of the IFP.

550 The IFP called a peace rally in Sebokeng on 22 July 1990. Prior to the rally, COSATU had tried to seek an urgent interdict, on the basis of intelligence reports from hostels which indicated that the IFP were coercing and forcing recruitment of hostel-dwellers. On the day of the rally, ANC supporters gathered outside the stadium and allegedly hurled abuse, and threw stones and petrol bombs at arriving buses. Following the rally, IFP supporters marched through Sebokeng, attacking and killing people on their way back to the hostel complex.

551 Over the next few months, conflict continued between the IFP and the ANC, resulting in expulsion of IFP supporters from their homes as well as 350 Zulu-speaking people from the Sebokeng hostel complex. Initially, these people lived in the veld but were subsequently accommodated at the KwaMadala Hostel, a building owned by ISCOR, the biggest employer in the Vaal.

552 On 3 September 1990, Inkatha members carried out an attack in the early hours of the morning on the Sebokeng Hostel. Twenty-three people were killed in this initial attack. A further fifteen people died when the SADF opened fire on the crowd.

553 These conflicts in the Vaal (and in other areas of the Reef) took place against the background of ongoing negotiations between the former state, the ANC and other organisations. The ANC and many other organisations alleged that there was a ‘third force’ behind these killings. Mr de Klerk appointed the Goldstone Commission, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone, to initiate an investigation into these conflicts.

554 During the 1990s, criminal gangs became increasingly drawn into the political conflict taking place in the PWV – their easy use of violence making them extremely effective participants in the contest for political power and territorial control. Associated with this was an attempt to establish people’s power in many areas including the Vaal. The establishment of related ‘people’s courts’ and street committees added to the culture of intolerance.

555 The ‘forced removal’ of IFP supporters from the Vaal townships and the primarily Zulu-speaking hostel residents from the Sebokeng hostel complex to the KwaMadala Hostel led to ongoing conflicts between these two groupings from the end of 1991 until the massacre that took place in Boipatong in June 1992. The Boipatong massacre prompted the ANC to suspend negotiations with the Government in protest against its failure to halt the violence sweeping the country at the time.

556 The Commission heard evidence from families of victims of the Sebokeng massacre of 22 July 1990 in which IFP supporters, returning from a rally, conducted random attacks on township residents and killed twenty-seven people. Among the victims was nineteen-year-old Fanyana Reuben Maduna. Ms Mamasondo Maduna [JB00795/03VT] told the Commission that she was told that her son was lying in the road:

When we went there to look, he was already removed and taken to the hospital, and a police van came and they said to us we must go and fight for ourselves. But I did not understand what they meant because I did not know what they were referring to…
And when we got to the hospital, we found that he had been dead. On the following day, we went to the mortuary at the hospital. When we got there, we found the place full.
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