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TRC Final Report
Page Number (Original) 237
Paragraph Numbers 126 to 129
Finding on the ‘third force’
126 The early 1990s saw unprecedented levels of violence: more people died in political conflict during this time than for the whole of the earlier mandate period. Numerous allegations were made that a ‘hidden hand’ or ‘third force’ was involved in orchestrating and fomenting such violence in order to derail the negotiation process. This ‘third force’ was seen to involve covert units of the security forces acting in concert with other individuals or groupings, such as the IFP and various right-wing paramilitary structures.
127 Regarding security force involvement in ‘third force’-type activities, the Commission found evidence of –
a involvement by members of the security forces in the provision of weapons and training to the IFP;
b a cover-up, following the arrest of Transvaal IFP youth leader Themba Khoza with weapons on the scene, of the identity of perpetrators of the Sebokeng massacre;
c the involvement by MI operatives and structures in destabilisation in the homelands, including the development of a plan to invade the Transkei;
d an official plan by MI to abduct and/or assassinate Mr Chris Hani and Mr Bantu Holomisa in the Transkei;
e the existence of SAP hit-squads;
f sustained efforts to conduct disinformation campaigns both against the liberation movements generally and against particular individuals;
g the activities of high-level security branch sources such as the ANC’s Sifiso Nkabinde and the IFP’s David Ntombela, who were deeply implicated in violence in the Richmond and Pietermaritzburg areas respectively.
128 In addition, the Commission found some evidence regarding the involvement of security force operatives and IFP members in train violence and in right-wing agendas and structures, possibly including the establishment of some right-wing groupings; the involvement of an MI source, Prince Gobingca, as a key player in several sites of violence in the western and eastern Cape; and the existence of alliances between certain security force operatives, the right- wing and sectors of the IFP, who clearly believed they were arming and training people for a full-scale war.
129 While little evidence exists of a centrally directed, coherent and formally constituted ‘third force’, on the basis of the above:
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT A NETWORK OF SECURITY AND EX-SECURITY FORCE OPERATIVES, OFTEN ACTING IN CONJUNCTION WITH RIGHT-WING ELEMENTS AND/OR SECTORS OF THE IFP, FOMENTED, INITIATED, FACILITATED AND ENGAGED IN VIOLENCE WHICH RESULTED IN GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS, INCLUDING RANDOM AND TARGETED KILLINGS.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT SUCH NETWORKS HAD ESTABLISHED ‘PARTNERSHIPS’ DURING THE 1980S WITH PRO-GOVERNMENT INDIVIDUALS OR GROUPS AT A LOCAL LEVEL WHICH THEN ACTED IN CONCERT TO PERPETRATE SUCH VIOLATIONS. THE COMMISSION FINDS FURTHER THAT THE SANCTION OF ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES BY SECURITY FORCE OPERATIVES DURING THE 1980S PROVIDED THE BASIS FOR THEIR CONTINUATION IN THE 1990S.
THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT SUCH NETWORKS, AT TIMES, FUNCTIONED WITH THE ACTIVE COLLUSION AND/OR KNOWLEDGE OF SENIOR SECURITY FORCE PERSONNEL, AND THAT THE FORMER GOVERNMENT, EITHER DELIBERATELY OR BY OMISSION, FAILED TO TAKE SUFFICIENT STEPS TO PUT AN END TO SUCH PRACTICES.
THE COMMISSION ALSO FINDS THAT THE SUCCESS OF ‘THIRD FORCE’ ATTEMPTS TO GENERATE VIOLENCE WAS AT LEAST IN PART A CONSEQUENCE OF EXTREMELY HIGH LEVELS OF POLITICAL INTOLERANCE, FOR WHICH BOTH THE LIBERATION MOVEMENTS AND OTHER STRUCTURES SUCH AS THE IFP ARE HELD TO BE MORALLY AND POLITICALLY ACCOUNTABLE.