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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 708
Paragraph Numbers 662 to 669
662 During the 1990s, reports of the abduction of people into hostels became increasingly frequent. During the latter half of 1993, in the wake of the ANC march past a Thokoza hostel (see above), a number of people were abducted into Mshayazafe hostel in Thokoza.
663 In one incident, the victims, Mr Dan Makhanye and Mr Amos Buti Tshabalala [JB00314/01ERKAT], were travelling along Khumalo road which passes Mshayazfe hostel when they were stopped and forced to drive into the hostel. Ms Zondi Ngobeni told the Commission that her husband, Amos Tshabalala, never returned home.
664 In another incident, on 29 July 1993, three young girls – fifteen-year-old Thembi Brilliant Mahlope, sixteen-year-old Molly Zondi and fourteen-year-old Winnie Makubela – who were on an errand for Ms Gloria Mahlope [JB03425/01 ERKAT], were abducted into Mshayazafe hostel in Thokoza on the East Rand and raped. Two of the girls were stabbed and shot dead. Winnie Makubela was shot and wounded but managed to escape. Ms Gloria Mahlope said:
When I went to see my child at the mortuary, I found that she had been chopped, she was full of grass all over and was naked. There was a post mortem, because they were found with lots of wounds and they had been stabbed all over their bodies…it was shown that they had been shot in the stomach. They were found with bullets in their stomach.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MR AMOS TSHABALALA WAS ABDUCTED AND KILLED ON 1 AUGUST 1993 BY IFP-SUPPORTING HOSTEL-DWELLERS AT MSHAYAZEFE HOSTEL, THOKOZA. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT HOSTEL-DWELLERS OF THE SAME HOSTEL WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ABDUCTION, RAPE AND DEATH OF MS THEMBI MATLOPE AND MS MOLLY ZONDI AND FOR THE RAPE AND ATTEMPTED KILLING OF MS WINNIE MAKUBELA. THE COMMISSION FINDS THE IFP RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COMMISSION OF GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.
665 In the context of intense political competition, economic competition for routes and passengers frequently became politicised, leading to ‘taxi wars’ around the country. Because some taxi owners lived in hostels and some in the townships, and because they had a range of political affiliations, these economic conflicts frequently became intertwined with other dynamics, particularly the political conflict between the ANC and IFP. 64
666 Taxi conflict on the East Rand first flared in March 1990 when tensions between the Katlehong Taxi Organisation (KATO) and the Germiston and District Taxi Association (GDTA), exploded into open violence. While the conflict was initially an economic dispute over control of taxi routes, it quickly became politicised. Most members of GDTA were Zulu speakers from Natal who lived as tenants in the township and were never fully integrated into the township community. KATO, on the other hand, won the loyalty of the youth by providing discounts for students. Thus, COSAS students became targets of the GDTA, particularly after some of its members were attacked.
667 On 3 March 1990, after approximately seven people, mainly taxi passengers, had died in conflict between the drivers of the GDTA and the KTO, about 10 000 attended a meeting organised by the Katlehong Civic and Crisis Committee and resolved to boycott the taxis until it was safe to use them. Three days later, GDTA taxi operators killed five school pupils and teachers at Katlehong High school, allegedly in response to the burning of the house of a GDTA official. On 8 March, the death toll in Katlehong reached fifteen as GDTA-aligned vigilantes continued to seek out and kill youths. Hostel inmates aligned themselves with the GDTA drivers, after a taxi load of migrants from Natal, headed for the hostel, was mistakenly attacked by some youths.
668 In September 1993, there was a spate of violent attacks on taxis in Thokoza. Forty-eight people died and forty-five were injured during these attacks.65 Residents speculated that people associated with hostels in the East Rand were using hit squads to force taxi drivers to use the route along Khumalo Street, past the hostels. The military precision with which the attacks were carried out would seem to bear out the theory that the attacks were carried out by hit squads.
669 The Commission received statements from victims of taxi violence during this period. On 14 March 1992, Mr Josiah Monaisa was shot and killed while travelling in a taxi that was hijacked by two armed men and driven to Meadowlands hostel [JB00775/01GTSOW]. Ms Pamela Sebathe was travelling in a taxi when a bullet hit her and she lost vision in her eye. [JB01231/01GTSOW]. Mr Isaiah Nhlanhla Mchunu was shot and severely injured while travelling in a taxi near Mzimhlophe hostel on 3 June 1992 [JB05415/01GTSOW].
THE COMMISSION NOTES THAT TAXI ASSOCIATIONS, PARTICULARLY IN THE EAST RAND, WERE PERCEIVED TO BE IDENTIFIED EITHER WITH THE IFP OR THE ANC. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT A NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS WERE EITHER KILLED OR SEVERELY INJURED WHEN UNKNOWN GUNMEN AND ASSAILANTS OPENED FIRE OR LOBBED HAND GRENADES ON GROUPS OF PEOPLE TRAVELLING IN TAXIS. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT IFP-ALIGNED TAXI DRIVERS WERE ACCUSED OF DELIBERATELY ABDUCTING ANC-ALIGNED TOWNSHIP RESIDENTS RESULTING IN THE DEATH, TORTURE AND DISAPPEARANCE OF THOSE PERSONS.64 See JB002181/01ERKAT.