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Special Report
Transcripts for Section 4 of Episode 52

17:29We stay in the Eastern Cape. When the Ciskei Transport Corporation imposed a bus fare increase of 11% in July 1983 the community of Mdansane launched a boycott and started using trains only. The Ciskei government recruited a vigilante group, the ‘Green Berets’ to force commuters in Mdansane to board buses. On the 4th of August 1987 commuters and the homeland forces crashed violently. Eleven people died and dozens were injured.Full Transcript and References
18:01Early one morning, on the 4th of August 1983 Ciskei forces opened fire on commuters on their way to work, the reason being they had opted for trains and not use the government owned buses at the time. At the last human rights violations hearing in Mdansane, Eastern Cape the Commission heard how people had been shot at in the dark after showing solidarity with a bus boycott that had been called by the South African Trade and Allied Workers Union caused by a five cents increase in bus fares.Full Transcript
18:41The 1983 bus boycott did expose a conscious effort by the apartheid regime, by the oppressive regime to constantly disrupt people’s lives, enhance their dependence on the apartheid system, undermine their resistance and undermine their struggle for freedom, peace and democracy.Full Transcript
19:14Innocent victims of the massacre, like Mrs Francis Joli, and Lindiswa Ngwenya told the Human Rights Violations Committee how they were mistreated after they had been caught in the crossfire. // I heard gunshots and I fell down, due to the gunshots. I don’t know who did this. I tried to ask for help and I went to the toilet, I then became unconscious. I think people found me there and took me to Cecilia Makiwane hospital. I spent a week in Cecilia Makiwane. I had a cut in my ear and I was shot in my shoulders, in my arm.Full Transcript and References
20:05 On that fateful day eleven people were fatally shot and 36 were injured. // My leg was very painful, the bullet struck me in my thigh. // To their dismay the victims of the shooting that took place at Egerton station were ironically charged with contempt of court. They were forced to pay large sums of money. Full Transcript
20:30The Ciskei puppets skilfully undermined all those litigations by arresting and detaining the lawyers who were defending those people or some who actually had civil claims against the Ciskei government. Of course when they were told, it was interpreted in a political way that you are taking the government to court, so we are charging you. Coincidentally, the UDF had just been launched in August 1983 when the boycott started in July. So in a sense, whilst we may have lost the bus boycott, the struggle had transformed itself now into UDF and in fact during the whole train period, people in trains, there was a lot of mobilization through trains. In fact even the Jo’burg train sanction, they copied that from the Mdansane bus boycott because there was an intensive and extensive political mobilization around UDF initially but even broadly around the trains.Full Transcript
21:34On the first day of the Mdansane hearings this past week the Human Rights Violations Committee paid a tribute visit to the Egerton Railway Station, scene of the bloody massacre that took place in 1983 to say a short remembrance prayer for those who untimely lost their lives for supporting a just cause.Full Transcript
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