SABC News | Sport | TV | Radio | Education | TV Licenses | Contact Us

TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 21

Volume 3

Chapter 1

Subsection 13

1984 Mutinies by frustrated MK soldiers at ANC camps Viana and Pango are crushed in early 1984, resulting in the execution of seven mutineers and the imprisonment of others at Quatro rehabilitation camp.
The Lusaka agreement between South Africa and Angola is signed in February, after South Africa announces its withdrawal from Angola. (The agreement is never fully implemented, as South Africa never entirely withdraws).
The Nkomati Accord is signed in March between Mozambique and South Africa. The Accord represents a non-aggression pact in which both sides pledge to cease hostile actions against each other. The Mozambique government agrees to expel all ANC military personnel.
ANC official, Jeanette Curtis Schoon, and her daughter, Katryn, are killed by a South African security police parcel bomb in Angola in June. Elections are held for the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates in August.
In the Vaal uprising, nine people are killed in Sharpville after a rent increase, followed by numerous other deaths as protests spread. Rent boycotts become a new strategy of protest. In Operation Palmiet in September, the SADF is deployed to support the SAP in suppressing internal unrest in the Vaal Triangle, followed by a wider deployment of the SADF in unrest areas.
The new constitution is enacted in September. PW Botha becomes State President. The biggest stay-away in thirty-five years takes place in November in the Transvaal. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Archbishop Desmond Tutu in December. In the first UDF treason trial, fifteen UDF and union leaders are charged with treason in Pietermaritzburg. (The charges are finally dismissed in June 1986). The UDF ‘Million Signature Campaign’ against apartheid is launched. Mass student protests and disruptions intensify existing unrest caused by community protest activities and conflict with black local authorities. The Strategic Communication Branch (STRATCOM) of the State Security Council is formalised, following an investigation into the use of psychological action/warfare.
1985 The Rand slumps and the disinvestment campaign commences. Britain and the US begin the process of adopting employment codes for companies operating in South Africa.
Mandela and other political prisoners are offered release in January if they renounce violence. Most refuse. Widespread attacks begin on ‘collaborators’, including police and community councillors, by residents in both urban and rural areas across the country. These killings result in numerous ‘common purpose’ trials and many death sentences for those convicted.
Vigilante groups emerge nationwide. Groups such as the A-Team and the Phakathis in the Orange Free State and the A-Team in Chesterville, Durban, begin to target UDF activists. The Eagles youth club in the OFS (run by Military Intelligence from 1986) is active in the harassment of UDF leaders and violent disruption of youth meetings.
Conflict between black consciousness organisation AZAPO and the UDF erupts during a visit by US senator Edward Kennedy. Conflict continues throughout the year and spreads to other regions, including Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage where many are killed.
Violence erupts in February at Crossroads, an informal settlement in Cape Town, after the state declares that squatters in the Western Cape must move to Khayelitsha. Eighteen are killed and 200 are injured in clashes with the police.
Police open fire on a march to a funeral at Langa near Uitenhage on 21 March, killing at least twenty-one people. This is preceded by an authorisation to use buckshot and birdshot.
Councillor Benjamin Kinikini is ‘necklaced’ and four of his young relatives killed by a crowd on 23 March. This is the first widely publicised ‘necklace’ killing in the country. The SAP records 406 such ‘necklace’ killings and 395 deaths by burning between September 1984 and December 1989; a third of these take place in the former Eastern Cape and Border regions.
UDF and Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation (PEBCO) activists — Sipho Hashe, Champion Galela and Qaqawuli Godolozi — are abducted on 8 May and killed by security police.
The SADF raids Gaberone in Botswana in June; twelve people are killed of which eight are South Africans. MK members blow up the Umtata fuel depot, water pipelines and an electricity sub-station in June. A nightly curfew is subsequently imposed.
A second National Consultative (Kabwe) Conference of the ANC is held in Zambia in June, marking a turning point in the ANC’s approach to the struggle in South Africa. The distinction between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ targets starts to be blurred and a desire to ‘take the struggle to the white areas’ is expressed.
In the Delmas treason trial, twenty-two Transvaal UDF leaders are indicted for treason in June. The trial runs from January 1986. In December 1988, Justice van Dijkhorst convicts eleven of the twenty-two who are given sentences from five to eleven years’ imprisonment. (The Appellate Division overturns the convictions at the end of 1989.)
Eight COSAS activists are killed by grenades booby-trapped by the security forces in Operation Zero-Zero at Tsakane in June. The Cradock Four — UDF activists Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto, Sicelo Mhlawuli and Fort Calata — are abducted and murdered by security forces outside Port Elizabeth on 27 June. Their funeral under ANC and SACP flags in July is attended by 60 000 people from all over the country.
A state of emergency is declared on 21 July 1985 in thirty-six magisterial districts. This is extended to additional areas, including the Western Cape in October 1985. The power to detain is extended to every member of the police, railways police, prison officials and army members. It becomes a crime to disclose the identity of any detainee without permission from the Minister of Law and Order. The Commissioner of Police is empowered to impose a blanket censorship on press coverage of the emergency. Thousands are detained and organisations still operating are either banned or restricted. This state of emergency lasts until March 1986.
Maki Skosana is necklaced on 25 July at the funeral of several people killed by police. Eugene de Kock assumes command of Vlakplaas in July. Victoria Mxenge, a Durban attorney, is assassinated in Umlazi on 1 August. This triggers a rapid escalation of conflict between the UDF and Inkatha in Natal. COSAS is banned in August. PW Botha delivers his ‘Rubicon’ speech in August, in which he retreats from talk of reform. In August, the UDF in Cape Town organises a march to Pollsmoor Prison to demand the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners. It ends in violence when police disperse the marchers. Clashes result in thirty-one deaths over the next few days and spark off widespread street protests and repression until the end of the year.
Seventeen people die in the Umlazi cinema killings when Inkatha supporters armed with traditional weapons and firearms burst into a memorial service held for Victoria Mxenge on 8 August.
The Gandhi settlement at Phoenix is attacked and destroyed in August. Seventy people die (forty-three at the hands of police) and more than 200 are injured. UDF student activist, Batandwa Ndondo, is shot dead by security police and askaris at Cala, Transkei in September.
In what becomes known as the ‘Trojan Horse’ incident, three youths are killed in Athlone, Cape Town in October. A further two are killed in an identical security force operation the following day near Crossroads. This method is used elsewhere in the country, notably in the Eastern Cape.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is launched in November. The first series of ANC landmine attacks in November leads to several deaths and injuries in the Northern and Eastern Transvaal rural areas. By the time the ANC ceases landmine operations, between twenty and forty people have died in over thirty landmine explosions. In what becomes known as the Mamelodi killings in November, at least twelve people die when police open fire on 50 000 protesters demonstrating against rent rises, funeral restrictions and the presence of the SADF in the township. In the Queenstown shootings, at least eleven people are shot dead when police open fire on a meeting in a church hall in November.
South African security forces launch a raid into Maseru in December. Six South Africans, including MK operatives, and three Botswana citizens are killed. In the Amanzimtoti bombing, five people are killed and over sixty injured in an explosion at an Amanzimtoti shopping centre in December. MK operative, Sibusiso Andrew Zondo, is convicted for the bombing and executed in September 1986.
Church leaders issue the Kairos document. The State Security Council inter-departmental committee on security is upgraded to Joint Security Staff (Gesamentlike Veiligheidstaf) to oversee the co-ordination of unrest and security matters under the Deputy Minister of Law and Order. The highest decision-making body of Inkatha, its Central Committee, declares KwaZulu and Natal ‘no-go’ areas for the UDF (according to a State Security Council document produced in 1989).
Broadcasting for Total Citizen Empowerment
SABC © 2024