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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 683

Paragraph Numbers 578 to 586

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 79

578 The 17 June 1992, the Boipatong massacre was allegedly launched from the KwaMadala hostel in the Vaal by a group of more than 200 men armed with knives, pangas and guns, leaving at least forty-five people dead and twenty-two injured. Victims included at least nine children, two babies and seventeen women, one of whom was pregnant.42 Residents were raped, hacked, stabbed, shot, beaten and disembowelled. Hundreds of homes were attacked and looted. Victims said they had been attacked by white men in security force uniform and black men with red and white head bands speaking Zulu and chanting Zulu slogans.

579 Conflict had been brewing in Sebokeng for some time. Zulu-speaking people in the township gravitated towards the KwaMadala hostel as tensions between themselves and the ANC increased. Attacks were allegedly perpetrated against the property of IFP supporters and Zulu-speaking people.

580 Repeated complaints from residents about violence emanating from KwaMadala hostel were ignored, as were petitions made by the Vaal Council of Churches to the police, ISCOR and the Goldstone Commission from early 1991. No action was taken and violence escalated unchecked.

581 According to the an article published in the Weekly Mail, twenty people were killed and ten injured in nine incidents of violence linked to KwaMadala hostel between January 1991 and May 1992, prior to the Boipatong massacre43. Before the massacre, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) submitted evidence to the Goldstone Commission to the effect that most of the violence in the Vaal emanated from KwaMadala.

582 Before the attack that occurred on 17 June 1992, a large contingent of police in plain clothes and camouflage uniforms began patrolling the township and removing barricades. A resident described this as being “unusual in Boipatong”. Members of SDUs repaired the barricades after the police left. A number of warnings were received and passed on to high-ranking officers in the local police. At about 20h00 on the night of 17 June, Boipatong residents, fearing an attack, patrolled the streets. At 21h00 police arrived in the township and patrolling youths were ordered to get off the streets.44 Those who did not were allegedly teargassed. The police reported that they fired birdshot when a police patrol was petrol-bombed on three occasions. The police denied using tear gas.

583 At approximately 21h30, Mr Meshack Theoane, a petrol attendant at a petrol station on the corner of Frikkie Meyer and Nobel Boulevard, approximately 300 metres from Boipatong, activated an automatic alarm when he witnessed a large group of armed men crossing the highway from the direction of KwaMadala hostel. The alarm was connected to the police station at Vanderbijlpark. Shortly thereafter, two white men arrived at the filling station in a van and asked Theoane why he had rung the alarm. He explained that there was a group of armed men entering the township from KwaMadala, but they seem uninterested in this information and left the area.

584 A security guard who was with Meshack Theoane at the filling station, then radioed his employers to report the movement of the armed men. Two white security men arrived at the filling station a few minutes later and apparently called the police on their radios. Two white policemen then arrived at the filling station and spoke to the security men, whereupon the security men said that the police had instructed them to take Theoane and the security guard away from the filling station because it was not safe. However the attendant and the guard returned to the garage later and saw the armed group leave Boipatong at about 22h30.

585 At 22h00, workers on the late shift at nearby factories Iscor, Metal Box and Cape Gate reported seeing two groups of police, one on the west and the other on the east side of the township, dropping off men from Casspirs at points next to Slovo squatter camp. Soon afterwards, the attacks began.

586 The attackers started at the Slovo squatter settlement and then moved through the township, killing and injuring people and damaging property (at least fifty homes were attacked in the township). Twenty people died in Slovo Park.

41 See Boipatong Massacre. 42 Forty-three of the casualties were Ms Violet Msibi, Mr Michael Msibi, Mr Sibusiso Msibi, Ms Ronica Msibi, Ms Julia Mgcina, Ms Flora Nkala, Ms Flora Moshope, Ms Matilda Hlubi, Mr Andries Manyeka, Ms Linah Manyeka, Ms Maria Mlangeni, Ms Martha Nonjoli, Ms Ntombi Nonjoli, Ms Elizabeth Moloi, Ms Anna Letsoko, Mr Andrie Letsoko, Mr Jim Richard, Mr Benjamin Mosoetsa, Mr Samuel Mosoetsa, Ms Nelly Kuba, Ms Annah Sebolai, Mr Percival Sebolai, Ms Berlinah Lerobane, Ms Aleta Moeti, Ms Maria Dlamini, Ms Pauline Dlamini, Mr Jacob Mtambo, Mr Benjamin Genu, Mr Meshack Mzizi, Ms Rebecca Mathope, Aaron Mathope (9 mo.), Ms Maria Ramoeletsi, Mr Simon Ramoeletsi, Mr Johannes Khoza, Mr Michael Mnyila, Mr Thomas Lekabe, Mr Sibisi, Ms Elizabeth Kgaile, Ms Elizabeth Ndamase, Mr Jonas Mbatha, Ms Lisa Mbatha, Ms Agnes Malindi and Poppy Mbatha (3). 43 Weekly Mail, 26 June 1992. 44 There is some uncertainty about the time at which the police arrived in Boipatong on the night of the massacre. Reports by residents appear to indicate that they were in the township at the time of the attack, but police deny this.
 
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