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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 312

Paragraph Numbers 186 to 190

Volume 6

Section 3

Chapter 2

Subsection 20

Attacks on vigilantes and criminal groups

186. In the period 1990 to 1994, a number of anti-ANC criminal and vigilante groups engaged in attacks on ANC members and supporters. Mr Sandile Birmingham Garane [AM5474/97; AC/2000/117] and Mr Joel Mhlahleni Sishaba [AM5186/97; AC/1999/232] were granted amnesty for the killings of two ‘Toaster Gang’ members in 1990 and 1993 respectively.

Attacks on transport routes

187. In the Katorus area, particular transport routes became associated with one or other political grouping. Residents of Katlehong became extremely concerned and upset when the railway line that ran past their homes to the hostel became a site of violence. Shots were fired at residents as the train went past and commuters were thrown to their deaths off the train. At the Johannesburg hearing on 24 November 1998, SDU member and amnesty applicant Jeremia Mbongeni Mabuza [AM7633/97] described the reaction of the residents:

We had a meeting one morning. [The residents] would wake up to dead bodies in the morning, these people whose houses were facing the railroad, and we decided to come up with a strategy to stop this from continuing.

188. The residents’ first response was to shoot at the train as it went past. Later they decided to destroy the railway line itself.

We went to the railroad as the community and we took the first line, we also used hammers. We counted three times, and we bent the railroad or the rail itself, but that didn’t help us in any way. On taking that resolve, we took a cutting torch from some of the Shangaan-speaking or Tsonga-speaking group and we went straight to the rail line. We used this cutting torch to break down this rail line, or to cut this rail line. We did not remove the one piece that we had cut from the line, we just left it there to appear as if there was nothing wrong with the line. This piece remained, the train came as usual and when the train came to the spot, two coaches were derailed, and as this was happening, the shooting was going on.
Lesser offences

189. O ffences that did not fall into the category of gross human rights violations included the illegal possession of arms and ammunition, the collection of money f rom residents for the purchasing of weapons, reconnaissance work, incitement, public violence and the obstruction of the police in the performance of their duties.

190. T h ree amnesty applicants, Mr Simphiwe Godfrey Ndlovu [AM7075/97], Mr Thulani Richard Mbatha [AM7027/97], and Mr Aubrey Matlema Maile [AM7694/97], applied for amnesty for doing reconnaissance work, cleaning weapons and similar work with the Tokoza SDUs while they were between the ages of ten and twelve. The three were granted amnesty for the unlawful possession of AK47s and a number of other firearms and ammunition and for obstructing the police in the performance of their duties [AC/1999/0243].

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