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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 706

Paragraph Numbers 656 to 661

Volume 3

Chapter 6

Subsection 90

656 Three large scale attacks also took place in 1992. In one attack on 13 November 1992, Mr Lazarus Shabangu [JB00354/01ERKWA] of Daveyton and his fellow passengers, the majority of whom were women, became the victim of an attack on train commuters by unidentified men. A group of about fifteen men opened fire indiscriminately. Shabangu was shot twice (despite an operation to remove the bullets, one is still lodged in his head), hacked on the forehead and assaulted. He was then thrown off the train but by then, he had already lost consciousness.

657 On 3 November, six people were killed and seven injured in a spree of violence that continued unchecked for three stations. Commuters waiting to board train number 7810 were shot at from the train by a group of armed men. Three people were killed.

658 The primary form of violence on East Rand train lines were continuous small-scale attacks initiated by one or two attackers.

659 Some IFP leaders publicly dissociated themselves from the involvement of IFP members in train violence as early as 1990 – at an IFP youth rally in George Goch Stadium in My 1990, Stezi Lamula, chairperson of the IFP’s Mapetla, Soweto branch, expressed the IFP’s displeasure about the harassment of commuters. He stressed that such actions were not official IFP policy. However, it is also clear that both local and regional IFP leadership were centrally involved in the authorisation and planning of train violence. For example, a witness before the Goldstone Commission testified that IFP leaders Themba Khosa, Musa Myeni, Humphrey Ndhlovu and Zondi were involved in train violence. The witness, a former Nancefield hostel dweller himself, testified that two train attacks had been planned at the Nancefield Hostel (Kliptown St, 25 June 1991 and Nancefield St, 23 October 1991). Some information, if still fairly tenuous, appears to be emerging regarding the involvement of elements of the security forces, particularly the SADF’s covert special forces in train violence. Most of this evidence has emerged through the Goldstone Commission and was rejected unsubstantiated. At least one person who gave evidence to the Goldstone Commission has now approached the Truth Commission– Mr Felix Ndimene, a Mozambican who had served as a sergeant in Recce 5. Ndimene claimed that he had been abducted from Mozambique on 23 August 1982 and brought to the SADF’s Phalaborwa base where he was tortured and forced to join the SADF. In an interview with the New Nation in July 1991, Ndimene alleged that the Selous Scouts of Pietersburg and ‘Verkenningsregiment 5’ (VR 5, Recce 5), together with members of RENAMO, had been involved in train violence, particularly the Benrose massacre. He also alleged that the intelligence division of Spoornet Security was composed of former members of the special forces who orchestrated the violence on trains.

660 SAP member Mr Wayne Hugh Swanepoel, who applied to the Commission for amnesty [AM3727/96], to the Commission, implied that there was a link between the SADF and the SAP in the commission of train violence as early as 1988. Swanepoel said that he was involved in supplying guns to CCB member Mr Eugene Riley, which he believed had been passed onto members of the IFP. He said that he and others in his unit were involved in throwing people from the trains around 1988 “in an attempt to cause the ANC and the IFP to blame each other.” About five people were thrown off. They wore balaclavas and painted those parts of their skin that were exposed. Afterwards, they would go to the scene of the crime “to make sure they were dead,” and the case would be investigated by his own unit. He claimed that the people who assisted them were paid by the CCB and that the orders came “from inside the security police and higher up.”

661 The Commission received information confirming the involvement of the Vlakplaas unit in train violence, as well as the link between this unit and hostel residents. Mr Joe Mamasela, former Vlakplaas askari alleged in the New Nation in March 1997 that alleged train killers stayed at Eikenhof farm in the Vaal area. A statement by askari Mr Xola Frank (“Jimmy”) Mbane (enclosed in the files of amnesty applicants Mr Thapelo Johannes Mbelo (ref.no 3785/96) and Mr Wilhelm Riaan Bellingan (ref.no 5283/97)) alleges that most briefings for train operations took place at Vlakplaas. The train squad consisted of himself, Khayo, Sylvester, Mvelase, Shushe and Joss. Kilino served as commander and paid them R1 000 after successful operations. He further alleged that hostel-dwellers from the Nancefield Hostel were used at times in train attacks.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT TRAIN VIOLENCE WAS INITIATED BY GROUPINGS OPPOSED TO A DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION AND THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ANC LED GOVERNMENT.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT, WHILST TRAIN VIOLENCE WAS NOT OFFICIAL IFP POLICY, A NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS AND LEADERS WITHIN IFP STRUCTURES WERE INVOLVED IN TRAIN ATTACKS.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT BETWEEN 1990 AND 1993, 572 PEOPLE DIED IN MORE THAN 600 INCIDENTS OF TRAIN VIOLENCE. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT 62 PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND 100 INJURED IN THE BENROSE MASSACRE ON 13 SEPTEMBER 1990. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT, ON A BALANCE OF PROBABILITIES, IFP SUPPORTERS WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTACK. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT, IN A NUMBER OF INCIDENTS, IFP SUPPORTERS COLLABORATED WITH MEMBERS OF THE SADF’S SPECIAL FORCES AND MEMBERS OF VLAKPLAAS IN PLANNING TRAIN VIOLENCE ATTACKS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE SAP AND THE SADF ARMED IFP MEMBERS.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THE IFP, THE SAP AND THE SADF RESPONSIBLE FOR THE KILLINGS THAT TOOK PLACE DURING TRAIN VIOLENCE ATTACKS AND THEREBY THE COMMISSION OF GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.
63 See Duduza, Katlehong, Thokoza and Benoni hearings.
 
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