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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 302

Paragraph Numbers 571 to 582

Volume 2

Chapter 3

Subsection 59

Vigilante Activity

571 Not all vigilante activity was a product of state engineering. Intolerant actions and coercive campaigns of the UDF and its adherents mobilised genuine disaffection and anger amongst black residents, forming the basis for retaliatory actions by so-called ‘vigilantes’. Nevertheless, Commission investigations produced evidence of a range of levels of endorsement, support and management of vigilante groupings by different security arms of the state.

572 The detailed substance of the conflicts that swept through Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage are covered in Volume Three. In summary, during 1985 there were violent conflicts between UDF and AZAPO as well as the Azanian Youth Organisation (AZANYU). By early 1986 the anti-UDF grouping re-emerged as a group called the AmaAfrika. Evidence shows that, while there were genuine conflicts between the UDF and AZAPO, the security forces used these as the basis for the creation and support of vigilante groupings which perpetrated serious violations and escalated the conflict.

573 A central figure in the conflicts was Reverend Mzwandile Ebenezer Maqina. Initially a member of AZAPO, he was expelled from the organisation in January 1986 after the first wave of violence between AZAPO and UDF members in 1985. Thereafter the Azanian Youth organisation (AZANYU) and the AmaAfrika movement became his political vehicles. In addition, he was associated with various welfare bodies such as the Black Crisis Centre (BCC), Save the Child, and the African Person’s Concerned Committee (APCC). During the early 1990s he was again associated with initiatives such as the Siyaakha Peace organisation and youth movement, the Black Crisis Forum and the anti-violence centre in Port Elizabeth. These outfits had offices and vehicles ostensibly supported by the private sector.

574 The Commission received evidence that, from the early 1980s to the early 1990s, Reverend Ebenezer Mzwandile Maqina was working with the Security Branch and had links to the SADF, and was the chief individual through whom the security forces sought to create dissension and an anti-UDF power base. Maqina consistently denied any such links. He told the Commission that his ideological sympathies lay with Africanism and Black Consciousness. He further claimed that his actions were aimed at trying to control the situation.

575 Commission statements link Maqina to several violations. Commission research indicated that Maqina was recruited by the Security Branch in the early 1980s. A national intelligence document links him to self-confessed ANC spy and Security Branch source Pat Hlongwane and a Colonel van Rooyen as early as 1981. Sources indicate that Billy Strydom of the Port Elizabeth Security Branch was Maqina’s handler during 1986. This is further confirmed by a report on Maqina written by Dr Johan van der Westhuizen (Maqina is referred to as M and Henry interchangeably, and SB refers to Security Branch).

M on occasion requested me to organize a firearm. … It may be that the SB provided him with a firearm. (Billy Strydom – security police handler). M was aware of the fact that Billy and myself knew each other and he, on one night, requested me to convey a message to Billy because he was not able to reach him. … If you would like to find out, contact Billy Strydom and ask him about M. He is supposed to know what is going on with Henry with regard to a change in the front. M. visibly had a reasonable position of trust with Billy.34
The SAP (SB) has been informed. Lt Billy Strydom, and the attitude is 100 per cent positive in favor of co-operation. Will provide information on demand. They will also organize a firearm upon Henry’s request – a telephone for the house will also be expedited.

576 Colonel Hermanus du Plessis of the Security Branch attempted to pass Maqina on to Colonel Lourens du Plessis in Military Intelligence (MI) during 1986 when he became an “embarrassment” after being caught by the CID with weapons in his vehicle. According to Colonel Lourens du Plessis, “the problem was that CID was not fully in the picture”.

577 During 1986, Maqina’s organisations were logistically supported by MI. This was done through front companies and organisations run by Dr Johan van der Westhuizen, Dr Ben Conradie and others. An organisation was established known as Action for Peace and Prosperity (APP)/Aksie Voorspoed, which was funded by MI. Money and goods from MI were channeled through them to Maqina.

578 In documents made available to the Commission, numerous references are made of ongoing financial support for Maqina’s various initiatives. Eduguide official Ben Conradie has made public specific details of thousands of rands, food and equipment given to Maqina. He stated:

One of the projects that I took over from Dr JL van der Westhuizen was known as ‘Project Henry’ and it was regarded as top secret that a Commandant from Eastern Province Command [SADF] was also involved in this … I was introduced to Rev Maqina by Dr JL van der Westhuizen, who had close contact with Brigadier Joffel van der Westhuizen … I had to constantly keep in the minds of my target group, inter alia groups identified by Rev Maqina, that the communists such as the UDF and ANC were enemies of the state and that they must be eliminated.

579 Conradie recalls that it was hoped that Maqina could become the ‘Buthelezi’ of the region.. “These projects involved the founding and building of ‘resistance movements’ in the black areas of eastern Cape towns so that ‘we’ could get to Cradock, the ‘focus of the revolution’. The aim was to consolidate all Xhosas under one community leader.”

580 Maqina was also provided with office space and a vehicle. A logo was designed for the AmaAfrika through Ad Ed. Former mayor Thamsanqa Linda was also given a vehicle. Louis Pasques proposed financial support totalling R126 000 to Save the Child, Black Crisis Centre and Maqina’s ‘youth brigades’ [probably AZANYU], all Maqina’s initiatives. Food parcels (“food as bait”35) were organised by the SADF for Maqina to distribute to Port Elizabeth residents to garner political support for himself. Anti-UDF pamphlets were arranged and printed for Maqina by the SADF, mainly for distribution in Uitenhage, the heart of the conflict from 1987.

581 During 1986 Maqina had contact with the conservative witdoeke in Cape Town. Dr JL van der Westhuizen notes that “the longest discussion I have had with M, was with regard to the ‘witdoeke’ and his visit to Cape Town. LJP [Pasques] is in possession of the tape recording.”

582 A document written in the first few days of June 1986 states that ‘Henry’ had asked for funds for a “symposium in Cape Town … probably amongst the moderates in Crossroads”. This was an obvious reference to the witdoeke, who had already embarked on their first attack in May and were preparing for the second attack in June 1986.

33 Kriptoberig, 25/3/86, GVS/GOS Instruksie: GVS Riglyne vir Optredes ter bekamping van die onrus/onlussituasie (Guidelines for action to combat the unrest situation). 34 Document entitled Projek M, written by Johan van der Westhuizen, no date. 35 Dr JL van der Westhuizen, Memo: Eastern Cape – AdEd, early 1987.
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