The level of political violence in South Africa has remained critical since Africa Watch's January 1991 report "The Killings in South Africa," and is the most serious obstacle to the successful management of a transition to majority rule. Those killed as a result of political violence range from ordinary township residents to some of the most senior leaders of the different political parties, and include human rights activists, church leaders, and individuals involved in peace negotiations. The vast majority of the victims of violence has been black, though whites have recently become the targets of a limited number of highly publicized attacks. Where whites have been killed, the response of the government and media has been consistently more forceful, and efforts to find the culprits more thorough.
In this Appendix, Africa Watch describes typical incidents of serious political violence in South Africa since January 1991; details the complicity of the security forces, including the South African Police (SAP), the KwaZulu Police (KZP) and the South African Defense Force (SADF), in this violence; and comments on the response of the South African government. The information detailed in this Appendix is collected from a variety of reliable sources, including reports prepared by independent human rights monitoring groups in South Africa, conversations with human rights monitors based in South Africa and press reports. Events described include only the most serious occurring in South Africa since January 1991 and receiving widespread coverage: this appendix does not claim to be a comprehensive record of all violent incidents.
The political violence has centered in the black townships located in the Pretoria, Witwatersrand and Vereeniging (PWV) area around Johannesburg and in the province of Natal. During 1991 and the first half of 1992, the PWV area accounted for the greatest number of deaths, but by the end of 1992 Natal had once again become the most violent area.
In July 1992, the Human Rights Commission reported that 49 massacres resulting in the death of 1,250 people had occurred during the two year period beginning in July 1990. They defined a massacre as an incident in which at least ten people were killed. Five further massacres, killing 80 people, occurred before the end of the year. Some of these incidents are described below. Though some of the violence seems completely senseless, and many have suffered who have not been active politically, some patterns have emerged.
1. Funerals, Political Rallies
Instances of township residents being killed while attending funeral vigils or funerals have occurred repeatedly as have attacks after speeches at political funerals or rallies. Rallies are often held in townships known to favor an opposing political group. Frequently, thousands attend the rallies, and participants are bused in from other townships. In many cases, when violence has broken out after these rallies or funerals, police have been unable or unwilling to prevent the bloodshed.
In addition, widespread violence has often become more intense immediately before breakthroughs in political initiatives, such as occurred in May 1991 before the ANC's deadline to force the government to take specific action to curb the violence; preceding the signing of the National Peace Accord in September 1991; preceding the "whites only" referendum of March 17, 1992; and before the resumption of negotiations in March and April 1993. Moreover, where local peace initiatives have been successful, unexplained attacks have sometimes occurred that seem designed to stir up new tensions. In the Port Shepstone area in southern Natal, where a local peace accord seemed to have succeeded in calming serious violence, and refugees were returning to the area, unidentified gunmen massacred ten people in an attack in April 1993, leading to a further outbreak of violence.
Serious incidents of violence of this type occurring since January 1991 include the following:
1. On January 13, 1991, gunmen attacked a crowd attending an all-night vigil for an ANC supporter in Sebokeng, a black township in the Vaal area south of Johannesburg, with hand grenades and AK-47 rifles, killing 45 mourners and wounding 50. Residents said they had warned the police in advance of the vigil that they might be attacked but the police had done nothing to prevent it. Police later arrested ten suspects and took possession of seven AK-47 rifles, ammunition, three petrol bombs and two vehicles.51 In June 1992, a judge dismissed charges against three suspects arrested in connection with this attack because the police failed to produce enough evidence to establish their case.52
2. On March 27, 1991, at 4:00am, six men armed with automatic weapons and knives attacked a funeral vigil in Alexandra, a black township north of Johannesburg, killing 15 of those present and wounding 16, including a 7-month old baby. Once again residents had warned the police they might be attacked. The police had checked the vigil twice, the last time at 1:00am, but they did not return again until more than an hour after the attack. The police station was within earshot of the gunfire; during the attack the police were informed.53
3. On September 8, 1991, three unknown gunmen opened fire on Inkatha supporters marching to a peace meeting at the local stadium in Thokoza, killing at least 23 people and injuring 26. In the following days, clashes between ANC supporters and Inkatha supporters left at least 14 dead and 100 injured. In November 1992, the Goldstone Commission reported that the attack had been organized by a police informer, Mncugi Ceba, who posed as the head of an ANC self-defence unit. The Commission also found that Ceba had led a coup by the Phola Park self-defence unit which violently ousted the Phola Park resident's Committee and had falsely claimed that the Committee had fraudulently misused development money. The report noted that the "acknowledged use of informers in positions such as that held by Ceba are not conducive to improving the already tense relations between the security forces and the communities in question."54
4. On October 7, 1991, gunmen ambushed mourners leaving the funeral of ANC member Sam Ntuli, killing 20 ANC supporters and injuring at least 24 others. One victim alleged that he was shot by a policeman, whom he was able to identify in a press photograph; the policeman was later confirmed by the police to be a member of the Criminal Investigation Services Unit of the SAP. Witnesses said that police in armored police vehicles shot at residents shortly after the attackers first opened fire. Others observed that although an armored police truck was parked about 300 feet from the scene, police did not apprehend the attackers, and that police took no action when a victim was shot about 300 feet from a police station.55
5. On April 11, 1992, shortly after the funeral of an Inkatha supporter in KwaNkengewa, near Esikhawini in northern Natal, residents of the township were attacked. Eleven people died.56
6. On August 2, 1992, eleven people were killed in the township of Esikhawini in northern Natal, a few hours after approximately one thousand residents of the pro-ANC J1 section marched to the local police station to protest KZP behavior. Several groups of attackers dressed in similar clothing, including balaclavas, carried out raids in different parts of the section. The victims included five women and a two year old child. Chief Buthelezi issued a statement claiming that those killed were Inkatha supporters; however, this was denied by reports from the township.57
2. Train Attacks
For working black South Africans in the Johannesburg area, perhaps the most terrifying violence has taken place on the commuter trains. Attackers shoot randomly at commuters waiting on platforms, generally during rush hours, and then often board the trains and shoot, hack and stab commuters. Some have died as they jumped from moving trains in an attempt to flee their attackers. The dead encompass all ethnic groups and political affiliations, but witnesses have often claimed that the attackers are Inkatha supporters or hostel dwellers. The frequency of the attacks varies; in January 1992, 14 attacks resulted in 15 deaths and 72 injuries, the month before, 2 attacks resulted in 3 deaths and 2 injuries. During the period from July 1990 to January 1992, the Independent Board of Inquiry into Informal Repression (IBIIR), an independent human rights monitoring group based in Johannesburg, recorded 48 attacks resulting in 112 deaths and 557 injuries.
Train attacks rose sharply in 1992. In December 1992, the Human Rights Commission reported a total for the year of 302 attacks resulting in 278 deaths and 563 injuries.58 Among the most serious train attacks since January 1991 are the following:
7. On October 23, 1991, attackers carrying firearms and sharp weapons attacked commuters on the 7:00am train between Nancefield and Orlando stations, leaving nine dead and 36 injured.59
8. On March 9, 1992 between 7:00 and 7:30am, seven were killed and at least five injured in an attack on a train at Lindiwe Station. Eyewitnesses reported that four attackers wearing long overcoats got out of a white vehicle and waited on the platform for the train to arrive. Two attackers entered the second carriage and two entered the third carriage, and fired on passengers. The attackers then exited the train and got back into their vehicle. Witnesses claimed they pointed out the departing vehicle to the arriving police who made no effort to stop the vehicle.60
9. At 6:45pm on June 15, 1992, three men, armed with AK-47 rifles, opened fire on commuters getting off a train at the Daveyton station, killing seven and injuring 16.61
10. Five people were killed and about seven were injured when gunmen attacked commuters on a train travelling through the East Rand on November 3, 1992. The attackers struck three times, the first time killing three people and causing widespread panic as commuters fled in terror. Shortly after the first attack, the same attackers struck again, killing two men at Lindela Station. The attacks lasted for about ninety minutes. Police explained that they were unable to arrest the attackers because the doors between the carriages were locked. An ANC spokesperson claimed that witnesses had repeatedly called the Katlehong police for help but their calls went unanswered. One witness claimed that three policemen arrived at the scene of the first attack but took no statements. A second group of policemen who arrived about three hours after the attack took statements and removed the corpses.62
3. Hostel-related Violence
Numerous violent incidents in the PWV area are centered around the hostels in the black townships. The hostels, mainly owned and operated by the government, house migrant workers who have travelled to the urban areas seeking employment, often leaving their families at home in the rural areas. Hostel dwellers have generally been more conservative than their neighboring township residents, and in recent years, many hostels have become Inkatha strongholds. Violence between township residents and hostel dwellers became increasingly bloody in 1992 although it decreased during the later part of the year. The violence approached full-scale warfare in March 1992 in Alexandra, a township in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. During that month alone, 52 people were killed and 389 were injured in Alexandra, and many hundreds of residents fled their homes. Other major incidents involving attacks by hostel dwellers on township residents include the following:
11. On April 14, 1991, violence broke out between ANC supporters from Klipspruit township and Inkatha supporters from Nancefield Hostel, resulting in at least eleven deaths and 73 injuries. Witnesses claimed that police caused some of the deaths and injuries when they fired without warning on the township residents. Police said the groups were armed with spears, axes and sticks and that they used teargas, rubber bullets, birdshot and shotguns to disperse the crowd.63
12. On September 8, 1991, members of Inkatha, including those from local hostels and hostels in Katlehong, went on a rampage in Mofolo in the East Rand, killing 14, after township residents refused them permission to gather in the township for the launching of a new Inkatha branch. The Inkatha supporters then moved to the Dobsonville stadium, throwing stones at homes on their way. Eyewitnesses claimed that, following the rally, participants started breaking windows and looting homes. They also said the SAP who arrived did nothing to prevent the destruction, instead, providing an escort for the Inkatha supporters. Most of those killed were old-age pensioners; one was a blind man who was stabbed six times. One of the most brutal incidents was the massacre of the Motsoeneng family. According to Mr. Motsoeneng, he passed armed, chanting and ululating Inkatha supporters on his way home, where he found his mother, sister, wife and daughter murdered. He alleged that three police vehicles were parked in front of his house and that police did not take a statement from him despite being given two spent cartridges.64
13. On December 8, 1991, Inkatha supporters, returning from a Soweto rally to the Dobsonville Hostel, marched through the township armed with axes, spears, knives and guns and attacked residents resulting in nine deaths and ten injuries. Police who were present apparently made no effort to disarm the group. Later the same evening, an attack on the home of the Seleke family claimed nine lives and, though the attack occurred at 8:30pm near the police station, the police did not arrive at the scene until 6:00am the following morning. Five minutes after the attack on the Seleke home, the same attackers killed one person and injured three others who were waiting in a minibus. Some time later, three men and two women were killed and eight other women were injured by shots fired at passing vehicles from the Dobsonville Hostel.65
14. On the night of June 17, 1992, a group of more than 200 men, armed with knives, pangas and guns, attacked residents of the Boipatong township and the Slovo Park squatter camp, a pro-ANC area, causing 45 deaths and at least 30 injuries. Many of the victims were women and children, including a pregnant woman and two babies. Hundreds of homes were attacked and looted. Reports indicate that Boipatong residents, fearing an attack, patrolled the streets beginning at 8:00pm. At about 9:00pm, police arrived and told patrolling youths to get off the streets, allegedly teargassing and firing birdshot at those who refused. Police deny using teargas. At about 9:30pm, an attendant at a garage just outside the township called the nearby police station when he saw a group of attackers moving towards the township. Police arrived within 15 minutes but ignored the man's pleas for assistance, ordering the attendant and a garage security guard to go to a factory out of sight of the township. They did not do so and claimed to have seen the armed group leave the township at about 10:30pm. At 10:00pm, workers from nearby factories leaving the night shift claimed they saw groups of police in casspirs dropping off men near the Slovo Park camp. Ten minutes later the attack started. It began in the squatter camp, then moved on to the township after about 15 minutes continuing until about 1:00am. Police later arrested and charged 78 residents of the nearby KwaMadala Hostel, whose residents were known to be Inkatha supporters, in connection with the massacre. In April 1993, charges were withdrawn against 27 of these by the prosecution, with no reasons given. The Goldstone Commission is conducting an investigation.66
4. Hit-Squad Activities
A number of political assassinations usually described as "hit-squad" killings have occurred in 1991 and 1992. These cases have several distinguishing features: the targets appear to be carefully selected grassroots-level political leaders, the killers often leave no evidence behind them and, in many cases, witnesses reported that gunmen used military-style tactics, often wearing balaclavas and communicating with each other by means of prearranged hand signals. The intention behind these assassinations appears to be to generate further distrust among opposing political groups, thereby frustrating peace efforts. In some cases, a killing of one group leader is quickly followed by a killing of a rival group leader. The many assassinations since January 1991 include the following:
15. In February 1991, Bheki Mlangeni died instantly when a bomb exploded in the headphones of a walkman he received in the mail. Mlangeni, a lawyer who chaired the local ANC branch and had also worked with the IBIIR, had participated in the 1990 Harms Commission inquiry into allegations that the police force and the South African military operated death squads. 7The package had been mailed in May 1990 to a former member of the South African military, Dirk Coetzee, who had provided evidence to the Commission of security force involvement in hit-squad activity and was the target of a foiled assassination attempt by senior military officials in London in July 1992. The package reached Mlangeni as he was the designated return addressee. The tape included in the package was labelled "Evidence of hit squads." It exploded when Mlangeni hit the play button.67 During the inquest into Mlangeni's death in June 1992, a member of the SAP testified that micro-detonators placed in the earphones of the cassette recorder were available only from the military or could have been obtained only by a person with close contacts in the military. An investigating officer in the case, Captain Kritzinger, also admitted that he had deliberately misled the independent forensic expert hired by the Mlangeni family to investigate the killing but denied that police had not made a serious attempt to investigate Mlangeni's death.
The court also heard evidence from a law student working at the same firm as Mlangeni. Within hours, the law student was able to locate a witness whom Captain Kritzinger had claimed was impossible to trace during the 15-month police investigation. Other testimony at the inquest revealed that Captain Kritzinger had delayed for months before giving handwriting samples to the police handwriting expert. Even then, the samples had to be repeated. The testimony also revealed that the handwriting on the tape in the lethal package had never been made available for comparison purposes to the police expert. Both Captain Kritzinger and the retired Major-General Ronnie van der Westhuizen, who was the senior investigating officer in the case, were earlier implicated in the Trust Feeds cover-up (see case 23). Mr. Justice B. O'Donovan found that there was insufficient evidence to determine who was responsible for Mlangeni's death but noted that if the investigating team acted with greater promptness a different finding may have been possible.
16. On September 29, 1991, gunmen with AK-47 rifles killed Sam Ntuli, a prominent member of the ANC, secretary general of the Civic Association of the Southern Transvaal (CAST), and chairperson of the Thokoza Civic Association, after they forced him off the road. The day before his death Ntuli had met with Inkatha officials to discuss the implementation of the Peace Accord. The following day he was due to meet several financial institutions to discuss bond repayments by the community. Ntuli had escaped an earlier attack on his home in February 1991.68
17. On February 7, 1992, gunmen killed Winnington Sabelo, a KwaZulu MP and member of the Inkatha Central Committee, in his store in Umlazi in Natal. He was killed two days after he and a local ANC official made a joint appeal for calm following eight area deaths the previous week.69 An alleged ANC member has been charged with Sabelo's murder.
18. On February 8, 1992, S'kumbuzo Ngwenya, chairperson of the Imbali ANC branch and member of the ANC Regional Executive Committee, who was active in local peace initiatives was gunned down as he left a restaurant following a meeting with unrest monitors in Pietermaritzburg.70 On June 9, police arrested two Inkatha officials, Phikelela Ndlovu and Abdul Awetha, mayor and deputy mayor of Imbali, a township outside Pietermaritzburg where the murder took place, and the son of an Imbali town councillor who was a "special constable" in the KZP for Ngwenya's murder.71 A weapon was confiscated from Awetha one month later which was ballistically linked to the murder. However, the weapon had been tampered with or "accidentally damaged" while in Awetha's care: in February 1993, all three accused were acquitted on the grounds that the ballistic evidence was not conclusive.
19. On October 27, 1992, Reggie Hadebe, the ANC's second in command in Natal, was killed after leaving a peace meeting with Inkatha officials in Pietermaritzburg. His death followed an upsurge of violence which included the massacre by unidentified gunmen of at least 20 people attending a traditional ceremony in Folweni in southern Natal on October 25. On October 28, an assassination attempt was made in Pietermaritzburg on David Ntombela, KwaZulu MP and prominent Inkatha leader. In March 1993, the Goldstone Commission announced that it would investigate the conduct of the KZP in relation to the investigation into the assassination. Since the SAP had been conducting the investigation, this raised speculation that the KZP had been deliberately obstructive.72
In a June 8, 1992 press conference, Inkatha reported that since the signing of the Peace Accord on September 14, 1991, more than 120 attacks on Inkatha office bearers had occurred, resulting in more than 20 deaths.73
THE ROLE OF THE SECURITY FORCES
Complicity by the South African Police
1. Police Bias and Violence.
During the decades of apartheid, police were used as the primary means of enforcing apartheid laws, and police/community relations were founded on fear. Distrust of the police is still widespread among members of the black community. While those suffering most from the violence are township residents, members of the SAP have increasingly come under attack. In 1992, 226 policemen were killed, according to the SAP.74 The Goldstone Commission is conducting an enquiry into attacks on the police.
Charges of police bias are made by the opposing political camps. In pro-ANC areas, township residents have frequently claimed that police have refused their requests for assistance during Inkatha attacks. In some cases, it has been claimed that police actively assisted in those attacks, or that goods looted from homes were carried away from the scene in police vehicles. Inkatha members, on the other hand, have sometimes claimed that members of the SAP are biased in favor of ANC supporters.
Human rights monitors have documented many incidents in which members of the SAP have been responsible for violent incidents and have suggested that members of the security forces deliberately fuel distrust among communities in an effort to divide the black population, charges which the government and the police have consistently denied. In April 1992, a Supreme Court Judge, Mr. Justice J.M. Didcott, echoed these charges. At a public function, he said that certain crimes and planned murders had been committed by policemen in defiance of the law. He went on to say, "we are paying the price, however, for legislation which puts the police force above the law, or at the very least beyond the law's effective reach, equipping it with vast powers, shielding its activities from scrutiny and indemnifying its members against accountability for unlawful behavior."75 The judge indicated he was speaking on the basis of information available from legal records. A study by the Centre for Social and Development Studies of the University of Natal and the government-funded Human Sciences Research Council found in a study of violence in Natal during the first half of 1991 that the SAP served to intensify the conflict in 27 percent of events at which they were present.76
Incidents documented by human rights monitors of complicity by the police in South Africa's political violence since January 1991 include the following:
20. On May 12, 1991, about 1,000 residents of the Kagiso Hostel armed with spears and clubs rampaged through the Swannieville squatter camp from about 5:00 - 7:00am, killing at least 27 people, injuring at least 30 and destroying at least 112 shacks. Residents claimed that police vehicles removed looted goods from the area. The squatter camp had been declared an "unrest area" only 24 hours before. In "unrest areas" there is a greater police presence and police have sweeping powers of search and seizure and may restrict entry and exit to the area. Police said they were not aware of the attack until 6:30am because local riot squads were changing shifts between 5:15 and 5:30am. Police escorted the attackers back to their hostel in Kagiso following the attack but waited almost 24 hours before making arrests. They then searched the Kagiso Hostel and arrested six men, three of whom were subsequently released for lack of evidence.77 In February 1993, seven of those charged in connection with the massacre were acquitted for lack of evidence. The judge found that if the police had called their video unit when they first encountered the large group of hostel dwellers making its way back to the hostel, a strong case could have been made against hundreds of people. He also found that he could not exclude the possibility that police had been involved in the massacre.78
21. On June 23, 1991, confrontations between ANC and Inkatha supporters in Inanda and Ntuzuma in Natal caused 16 people to be injured. The Inkatha supporters were armed with spears, battleaxes and sharpened sticks. Some residents claimed their injuries resulted from police gunfire, after the residents threw stones at the Inkatha group. One man's arm was broken while members of the SAP stood nearby and did nothing. Reports indicate there was a heavy presence of SAP, SADF personnel and KwaZulu police in the area during the attack.79
22. On December 3 and 4, 1991, at least 18 people died when Inkatha supporters indiscriminately attacked residents of Bruntville, the township for Mooi River in Natal. The attack took place in three stages. On December 3, about 300 armed Inkatha hostel dwellers attempted to march on the local school, but residents forced them back. At about 6:00pm, the hostel dwellers launched an attack on Bruntville residents, killing four people. A police van and a SADF vehicle, seen driving past the attackers prior to the attack fired teargas at residents, rather than trying to prevent the attack. After the attack, members of the SAP and the SADF searched homes in the area for weapons but did not search the hostel. In an attack the following day, at about 4:30am, at least 15 people were killed in 90 minutes. Residents claimed that members of the security forces did nothing to stop the attack.
The Goldstone Commission conducted an investigation of this attack and released its report in February 1992. The report sharply criticized the conduct of the police for forcefully raiding homes late at night without search warrants, for not being in uniform during raids and for sometimes using unmarked vehicles with false license plates. The Commission said that such actions, "apart from being unlawful, cannot serve any proper or useful purpose and ... can only fuel rumors and theories about a `third force' being responsible for much of the violence." It said that evidence before the Commission indicating bias by the police in favor of Inkatha was a matter for serious concern. It recommended that urgent and effective steps be taken to educate the police force in understanding the necessity for impartial policing. The report did not find the police responsible for the violence, though it recommended that disciplinary action be considered against those members of the SAP involved in the incident.80
The Commission also criticized the manner in which police had collected evidence of possession of dangerous weapons. It found that 172 Inkatha supporters were arrested and
"their weapons ... were confiscated en masse and the opportunity of identifying the man with his weapon(s) was lost.... In the interests of the improvement of the existing negative perception of the system of justice and particularly the perception that the police (and in the minds of the people of Bruntville therefore the government) are partial to [Inkatha], attention will have to be given to this matter by the police."81
In June and July 1992, the Minister for Law and Order announced the withdrawal of charges against 175 hostel dwellers implicated in connection with the attack because of lack of evidence. Following the Boipatong massacre in June 1992 (see case 14 above), this criticism of the Goldstone Commission was clearly ignored, and suspects were again permitted to surrender their weapons en masse.
23. In April 1992, a white police captain, Brian Mitchell, was convicted and sentenced to death for his part in the massacre of eleven in the town of Trust Feeds in Natal in 1988. Four black constables were sentenced to 15 years each for having carried out the killings on his orders. The court found that the planning of the massacre had involved at least the head of the SAP Pietermaritzburg Riot Unit, the head of Inkatha in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu MP David Ntombela, and the Trust Feeds station commander, then-Lieutenant Brian Mitchell. Judge Andrew Wilson said the plans resulted in the November 1988 furtive deployment of special constables to assist a local Inkatha leader, Jerome Gabela, to take control of the area. Mitchell told the court that members of the Riot Unit had previously used unlawful means to assist Inkatha in taking over other areas. The judge found that the entire force of special policemen was created as part of a counter-revolutionary strategy intended to act against the United Democratic Front and the ANC.
Judge Wilson accused the police of a high-level cover-up. He said that as the trial progressed, it became clear that the court could not accept the evidence of senior policemen, and that official records produced from the file were suspicious or wholly unreliable. He also pointed out that the two police officers responsible for conducting the initial investigation into the massacre had either acted incompetently or were not interested in conducting a proper investigation. He called for a public inquiry after noting that the unprecedented instruction to one of those officers before his testimony at the trial that he obtain his own counsel, indicated a reason to believe that the officer must have known he was concealing information from the court. Following the decision, the Commissioner of Police said he had instructed the head of the Internal Stability Unit to launch a thorough investigation into the matter. In passing sentence, Judge Wilson said the inquiry should be a public and not an internal affair.82 (See also cases 33 and 34 below.)
24. In May 1992, police officers and members of 32 Battalion carried out a series of raids on the Phola Park squatter camp, a pro-ANC area. On May 14, 500 policemen, members of 32 Battalion and local army units raided the squatter camp, arresting ten and injuring a one month-old baby. Many residents alleged police brutality, including a pregnant woman who was teargassed in her home, a woman in labor who pleaded with security forces for three hours before she was permitted to leave the area, and about 300 men who were rounded up into a fortress-like enclosure and teargassed. On May 18, police again raided the camp in what they claimed was an investigation into the killing of five policemen in the area since February. Police confirmed that they used rubber bullets during the raid. Around midnight on May 20, police again raided the camp, damaging two shacks. No injuries were reported. A member of the newly formed interim crisis committee said that police arrived in several casspirs equipped with loudspeakers with which they announced, "comrades, come out and shoot the police." He claimed that when residents emerged police began shooting. Police claimed they were fired on several times. On May 26, security forces again raided the squatter camp.
On May 30, following further raids on the settlement, police strung barbed wire around the area and conducted a house-to-house search. They arrested several illegal immigrants and nine suspects accused of possessing stolen goods. Residents claim that police stole money and property. At one point during the search, police ordered reporters out of the area. After erecting the wire barrier, police sprayed it with "sneeze powder" to prevent people tearing it down. They also sprayed some people directly with this powder. According to Peace Action, an independent monitoring group based in the area, an independent forensic scientist said that the judicious use of the powder to control riots should not cause a problem but that it could cause ocular and respiratory problems if sprayed directly on people and could kill children. Some infants were sprayed directly with the powder. The following day ANC youths tore down sections of the barbed wire and stoned police who trained their weapons on them.83 Peace Action, which interviewed residents after the attacks, claimed that the combination of the constant raids and occupation by the security forces of Phola Park, the wire and sneeze powder, and the searches and harassment of camp residents resulted in a level of repression greater than that during the various states of emergency in South Africa.84
25. On June 20, 1992, about two hours after President de Klerk left Boipatong, where he had gone to express his sympathy to members of the bereaved families following the massacre of 42 people two nights earlier (see case 14 above), police casspirs slowly began to leave. As they left, youths threw a branch in the way of the last casspir, and when policemen got out of the casspir to remove the branch, the youths hurled insults and shouted slogans at them. Other police officers went to the scene and formed a line facing the crowd with their guns at the ready. For some minutes there was a tense standoff. Finally, the crowd turned back to the township and began to leave. The casspirs followed them into the township. One man was shot and when the crowd tried to retrieve his body the police ordered them to move back to enable a police van to pick up the body. The crowd shouted at the police officers. It appears that one police officer shot into the air to try to scare the crowd. This shot was rapidly followed by a 20-second volley of gunfire from the police directed at the crowd. When the shooting stopped, at least two dead and 18 injured lay on the ground. Journalists at the scene reported that no one had ordered the policemen to fire. Police maintained that no casualties had resulted from this incident and that television pictures showing casualties lying on the ground had been fabricated by members of the crowd faking death or injury.85 The Goldstone Commission is investigating the incident.
2. Police Abuse of Detainees.
Domestic and international human rights organizations alike have reported incidents of abuse of detainees in police custody. According to the Human Rights Commission, 123 people died in police custody in 1992.86 Police have tortured and in some cases killed detainees but few police officers have been dismissed or prosecuted in connection with these deaths.
26. In January 1991, The Weekly Mail, an independent South African newspaper, reported allegations of torture against the Soweto Murder and Robbery Unit. It reported that Lawyers for Human Rights, an independent human rights organization based in Pretoria, had filed several applications with the courts on behalf of individuals seeking an order to prevent members of the unit from torturing or threatening members of the public. It had also filed several claims for damages against the unit for injuries inflicted. In one case in December 1990, a detainee was found dead while in police custody. The police claimed he had drowned in the swimming pool at the police station while trying to escape. The post mortem report recorded severe bruising on the victim's body and a fracture of his neck.87
27. In February 1991, The Weekly Mail reported that it had in its possession 30 affidavits alleging assault, theft and murder by policemen committed in the course of police duty. Twenty-four of the complainants alleged assault, including shock treatment. None of the incidents referred to in the affidavits led to charges being brought against police officers. Police claimed that 13 of the cases were still under investigation and that in eight of the cases there were no records of charges having been brought, although in five instances this was contradicted by the affidavits which provided details, including, in three cases, a charge number. Police said two cases had been referred to the Attorney-General's office, but that office said only one docket had been received. Many of the affidavits related to incidents that had occurred at the Brixton Murder and Robbery Unit and some others related to incidents at the Soweto Murder and Robbery Unit. Police said that they thoroughly investigated all claims of criminal conduct, even if a police officer was implicated. Lawyers for Human Rights disputed this assertion, saying that even when a pattern of abuse appeared to exist, such as that at the Brixton unit, police were not suspended pending investigation.88 On December 12, 1992, police announced that they would thoroughly investigate allegations that police at the Brixton Murder and Robbery Unit tortured people in their custody.
According to Lawyers for Human Rights, complaints of police abuse of Soweto residents continue on a near daily basis. Residents continue to be assaulted on the township streets and tortured while in police custody. Certain families are targeted for repeated attacks on their homes which are generally conducted at night and result in doors being broken and other damage to their homes. Lawyers for Human Rights assists victims in bringing charges against these police officers in the face of stiff police resistance. Victims are often turned away from the police station when they attempt to bring charges and a representative of Lawyers for Human Rights must frequently accompany victims on a return visit to ensure that police will complete the charge sheet. Investigations of police abuse rarely occur and victims are often threatened by police in an effort to have the charges dropped. Few criminal cases have resulted in convictions of police officers for abusive police behavior. Cases are usually dismissed for "lack of evidence." Lawyers for Human Rights has, however, been successful in obtaining civil awards of damages for some victims of police abuse.89 In its September 1992 monthly report, Peace Action also reported widespread abuse by police of youths in the area. Peace Action reported that many youths had been arrested by police and detained, without charge, for up to three months and some of the youths had been assaulted while in police custody.90
28. On May 19, 1991, a young ANC member named Tumi Padi was shot dead by police. He had escaped from police custody in November 1990. In February 1991, police had taken his father into custody for questioning concerning his son's whereabouts. They placed a bag over his head and fixed an electric prong to his genitals. When his father claimed not to know where Tumi was, they threatened him and said that when they caught Tumi they would kill him. Mr. Padi said that the room in which his son was found dead was covered in blood and the walls looked as if they had been attacked with pick-axes. Almost all the bullet marks were on the wall behind the bed. The police claimed they shot Tumi because he threatened to throw a hand grenade.91
29. In July 1991, after a year of denying abuses at the Welverdiend Police Unit headquarters in the eastern Transvaal, the SAP announced the establishment of a special team to investigate numerous allegations of torture there. Public interest arose when two detainees at the Unit, Eugene Mbulawa, 15, and Nixon Phiri, 16, died in police custody and police later blamed the deaths on epileptic seizures. At least in Phiri's case, there was, according to his family, no history of epilepsy; a private autopsy found numerous abrasions and bruises on his body.92 An eyewitness to Mbulawa's interrogation said that "a white policeman and two black policemen forced Mbulawa to stand with his palms on a desktop and his feet on the floor. Then they repeatedly kicked Mbulawa's feet out from under him. Soon Mbulawa was unconscious. Ten hours later, the police took him back to a holding cell."93
By November 1991, the police inquiry had resulted in the suspension of 28 officers, seven of whom were on trial for murder.94 The police-appointed investigator, General Ronnie van der Westhuizen, told the press that it was difficult to take steps against police officers without assistance and evidence from the public, who had been reluctant to provide evidence to the police because of a history of retribution, including threats, harassment and even killings.95
In September 1991, the IBIIR reported that eight people who had brought charges or could provide evidence against members of the Welverdiend Unit had been arrested, five of whom were facing charges ranging from possession of a firearm and ammunition to robbery. One of the IBIIR's researchers and the local ANC chairperson had been arrested and charged with intimidation and assault of a police officer. The IBIIR said that credible evidence suggested that certain SAP members were opposed to the investigation and had opened cases against potential witnesses in an effort to prevent them from testifying. Some of those arrested and charged were later acquitted.
Following investigations by the IBIIR, five of the eleven suspended police officers from the Welverdiend Unit were charged with attempted murder. All of the suspended policemen were back at work one month after their suspension. Another member of the unit, Ephraim Fente Rampete, who was found responsible by an inquest for the death of a schoolboy shot by Rampete while hiding under a bed was acquitted on all charges relating to the death, following a trial in December 1992.96 The Attorney-General has yet to decide whether to prosecute Rampete in connection with at least four other assault cases.
30. On September 30, 1991, Israel Mobote, a local youth leader, was arrested by 12 policemen, five of whom wore Inkatha t-shirts under their camouflage uniforms. They brought him to a farm where they accused him of killing Sam Ntuli, a prominent ANC activist (see case 16 above), of being involved in the massacre of Inkatha supporters in Thokoza on September 8 (see case 3 above) and of being a member of the armed wing of the ANC, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK). They later took him to a mine, tied his hands behind his back and his feet together, rubbed brake fluid in his anus and placed a rubber tire over his face, making it extremely difficult to breathe. They repeated their questions and when he did not confess to the killings, they kicked and punched him for about three hours. Following ANC intervention, he was released the next day. Police claim that Mobote was taken to a district surgeon and examined while still in detention. Mobote said he was afraid to tell the surgeon what had happened because the report on his medical examination would be given to those detaining him. On the day of his release, Mobote was examined by a private doctor and the test results were consistent with Mobote's allegations of assault.97
31. On July 26, 1992, Dr. Jonathan Gluckman, an eminent South African pathologist, told the press that of the 200 post-mortems he had performed on prisoners who died in detention, he believed police were to blame for 90 percent of the deaths. He said:
The government denied his claims, yet promised an urgent investigation. Gluckman, who had performed one post-mortem a week for the previous several months, said he made his claims public because the government had ignored his earlier pleas for action. Gluckman received death threats following his statements to the press and in December, he stated that technical experts had found sophisticated electronic surveillance equipment hidden in his office. (See also case 35 below).
3. Investigations of Police Misconduct.
After years of enforcing repressive apartheid legislation, many in the police are finding it difficult to adapt to change and are unwilling to be held accountable for abuses. However, some efforts at establishing accountability have been made, including the following investigations into various allegations of police complicity in the violence:
32. In July and August 1991, ten members of the police unrest unit at Welverdiend in the eastern Transvaal were suspended from duty pending the outcome of an internal police investigation into alleged misconduct concerning 17 violent deaths (see case 29 above). At least ten more officers were subsequently charged. Most of these officers face at least 19 charges of criminal misconduct. In August 1992, eight of those charged were acquitted of one charge of assault, but they still face many other charges. Three were later charged with assault in another case. None has been suspended from duty.
33. In April 1992, police Captain Brian Mitchell and four special constables were found guilty of eleven counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in connection with an attack on a funeral vigil in Trust Feeds, in Natal province in December 1988 (see also case 23 above). Captain Mitchell was sentenced to death and the four special constables were each effectively sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. Judge Wilson, who presided called for a full public and independent inquiry into irregularities when "it became clear that the evidence of senior policemen could not be accepted, and that official records produced from the file were suspicious or wholly unreliable."99 It appears that the police unit that conducted the second investigation, leading to the successful prosecution of Captain Mitchell, was too effective for its own good. It was disbanded after the investigation and cases it was investigating were assigned to other units. The SAP officer responsible for the later investigation, Captain (now Major) Dutton, now works with the Goldstone Commission.
34. In May 1992, Minister of Law and Order, Hernus Kriel, appointed a former Regional Court Magistrate, Willem Krugel, to oversee the internal police inquiry into the alleged police cover-up of the initial investigation into the Trust Feeds massacre (see cases 23 and 33 above), effectively ignoring both Judge Wilson's recommendation that the inquiry be independent and public, and the criteria specified by the General Council of the Bar of South Africa. Krugel had previously held sensitive positions for the government, including as liquidator of 18 political and civil rights organizations that were banned in 1977, and as chair of the committee that ordered former policeman Dirk Coetzee to resign from the police force (Coetzee later made sensational allegations against the police about alleged hit-squads and more recently was the target of an assassination attempt in Great Britain by South African security force officers).
35. In July 1992, in response to the Gluckman allegations (see case 31 above) which echoed the claims of numerous reports by domestic and international experts criticizing the conduct of the SAP, the government announced that a full investigation would be undertaken, and that six former magistrates would be appointed to check jails for possible abuses and report directly to the police commissioner and the Law and Order Minister. In October 1992, the ICRC was given permission to visit police stations. On December 10, Minister for Law and Order, Hernus Kriel, told a news conference that a police report demonstrated that most of Dr. Gluckman's allegations were false but he did not release the report. He announced that 20 retired police generals, twelve retired magistrates and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross would make surprise visits to prisons. Lawyers for Human Rights described the move as "inadequate and ridiculous" because these minimal resources could not possibly hope to examine the 280 police stations country-wide.100 By year-end, the Human Rights Commission had recorded 123 deaths in police custody during 1992. Dr. Gluckman indicated that he would respond to Minister Kriel's announcement. In January, the government announced that about $3.8 million would be made available to upgrade prisons as a result of recommendations made by the International Committee of the Red Cross. In February 1993 a spokesperson for the Minister of Law and Order denied that an in depth report into deaths in police custody had ever been promised.101
36. On July 26, 1992, three policemen were charged with conspiracy to commit murder after the Goldstone Commission asked the Attorney-General to investigate allegations of attempted murder of activists Jerry Maine, the chairman of the Ipelegeng Civic Association, Boyce Mpempe, an ANC Youth League leader and Bajula Kanjee, in Schweizer-Reneke in the Transvaal.102
37. In August 1992, the Goldstone Commission opened a large-scale investigation into the massacre of 42 people in Boipatong two months earlier. There had been many allegations of police misconduct in connection with the massacre (see cases 14 and 25 above). The Commission heard evidence from police officers and witnesses to the massacre. At this writing, the Commission had not completed its investigation.
38. On August 7, the Law and Order Ministry announced that a judicial commission would be appointed "as soon as possible" to investigate allegations of a cover-up of police involvement in the Trust Feeds massacre.103 However, no progress has been made to date in this investigation, despite the serious nature of the allegations.
In addition to the above investigations, some police officers have been convicted of serious crimes, although it is still difficult for courts to obtain credible evidence, and when convicted, sentences are often ridiculously light or policemen are released early. Examples include the following:
39. In February 1992, two police officers were convicted of kidnapping and murder charges and sentenced from two to eight years. The court found that the victim was killed to prevent him from pressing assault charges against the two officers.
40. In May 1992, Kheta Shange, a KwaZulu policeman and member of Inkatha, was released after serving only nine months of a 27 year sentence for murder and attempted murder. At his trial he had been described by the judge as "a beast in policeman's clothing." The government claimed that he was a political prisoner.104
41. In November 1992, five officers were given varying sentences after they were found guilty of assaulting and "necklacing" (placing a rubber tire over the neck of the victim, pouring petrol on the victim and setting him alight) a student. Two of the officers were sentenced to two years imprisonment of which six months was suspended for five years, another officer was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, half of which was suspended for five years and two others, who were convicted as accessories after the fact, were fined $160 with the option of 50 days imprisonment.
42. In December 1992, a police officer was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for the murder of two ANC prisoners. The judge in the case strongly criticized the convicted man's commanding officer for attempting to protect him from prosecution.
Although the police have initiated internal investigations, they have been notoriously slow, and relatively few have led to charges of police misconduct. Human rights activists and the South African press have repeatedly alleged that police cover up illegal behavior or misconduct by fellow officers. In a trial of a police officer in connection with the murder of two men, Mr. Justice Booysen, who tried the case, remarked that he had never seen so many witnesses lie in his 34 years as a judge. He said that police witnesses seemed to have given evidence which they thought would please their superiors and civilian witnesses seemed prepared to lie in order to incriminate the accused police officer. The police officer was acquitted. The courts have provided numerous further evidence of such behavior, including the Trust Feeds case (see cases 23, 33 and 34 above) and the inquest into the assassination of Bheki Mlangeni (see case 15 above).
4. Police Investigation of Train Attacks.
Train attacks have resulted in approximately 300 deaths in the past two years, with 204 deaths occurring in the first seven months of 1992 alone. (See Train Attacks above for a description of attacks on commuter trains.) The SAP's response to the attacks is another reflection of the unwillingness of the police to halt violence against black South Africans. In its report on train attacks covering the period July 1990 to January 1992, the IBIIR noted that no convictions had resulted from 48 attacks.105 What was believed to be the first conviction was secured only in Febrary 1993, of an Inkatha supporter found responsible and sentenced to death for an attack in November 1991.106 In 1992, the number of attacks and deaths resulting from train attacks increased. The SAP's indecision, irresponsible delegation of duty, and reliance on ineffective methods of investigation have contributed greatly to these increases.
In September 1990, after train attacks had already claimed many lives, the police met with the South African Rail Commuters Corporation (SARCC), the state-owned provider of rail commuter services, and Spoornet, the commuter railway operator, and announced there would be an increased security presence on the trains. Later that week, the police offered a reward of more than $16,000 for information leading to the arrest or conviction of those responsible for train attacks. In June 1991, however, the police stated that Spoornet was primarily responsible for commuter safety. The next month, a police spokesman announced that police were manning stations around the clock. In August 1991, the police announced plans for massive search operations on the trains to prevent attacks. Commuters welcomed this step, although the searches did not take place during rush hours when attacks usually took place. In late October, three days after another search, the police announced that searches would not become regular policy and that patrolling peak-hour trains was too dangerous. Commuters and opposition political groups unanimously condemned the decision, and at the end of October police agreed to patrol the trains twenty-four hours a day, though not every train would be patrolled.
Police claimed that attackers smuggled weapons onto the trains by hiding them in umbrellas. However, in January 1992, two priests accused the police of standing by while a group of about 20 men boarded a black commuter train in a Soweto station armed with pangas and axes. The police response was that it was not a crime simply to possess a weapon. Human rights activists disputed this claim, and, at the end of January, Police Commissioner General Johan van der Merwe announced that from January 30, no one would be permitted to board trains carrying an instrument which could cause death or bodily harm other than tools used for everyday work. Several searches have taken place, including one on June 14, 1992, in which the SAP raided a train carrying Inkatha members to a rally at the Jabulani stadium in Soweto. In that search, police seized six AK-47 rifles, 27 other firearms and over 2,000 axes, assegais, pangas, and knobkerries. The SAP acted firmly when the Inkatha supporters initially refused to hand over their weapons. The following day, however, to the dismay of human rights monitors, the SAP returned all sticks and shields to the Inkatha offices in Johannesburg, claiming that they were not dangerous weapons and that the SAP had no right to confiscate them.107
Spoornet, the railway authority, has also shown a lack of willingness to end train violence. It acknowledged the seriousness of the violence but looked to the police to prevent further attacks. Then, after the police attempted to shift responsibility to Spoornet, it hired private security firms using inadequately trained guards to provide security. In November 1991, after police had agreed to guard the trains, Spoornet provided police in Soweto stations with 50 hand-held metal detectors, which proved ineffective.
An announcement by the Goldstone Commission in early 1992, that it was going to investigate train attacks, caused police and railway authorities to give greater attention to the problem of violence on commuter trains. Steps taken in 1992 to address the problem included a March 19 blanket ban on the carrying of dangerous weapons at stations and on trains. In April, after a seven-day sit-in by community leaders at Spoornet's offices, police pledged to redeploy personnel urgently at affected areas on the rail system, and the SARCC agreed to stop armed commuters from boarding trains. In early May continuing violence caused commuters to boycott trains for six days.
On May 14, representatives of community organizations, the Minister of Law and Order and the railway authority signed an agreement stipulating that armed commuters would be prevented from entering stations; all stations would be fenced off; added security, including placing TV cameras in all coaches, would be installed; and three working groups would be formed to address the problems of train attacks. Shortly after the agreement was signed, however, hundreds of armed hostel dwellers boarded trains on their way to the June negotiations for democracy at Codesa II.
In June, Spoornet announced plans to escalate its five-year plan to upgrade security at train stations; completion was expected in three years. The Minister of Transport announced that 1,234 police in the Vaal area were being incorporated into special units to provide commuters with security. Police announced the establishment of a regional center in Johannesburg to co-ordinate the policing of trains and stations in the area. This center would have 24-hour contact with the stations at which most incidents had occurred.
Notwithstanding the increased attention, police have made few arrests in connection with these attacks. In October 1991, when commuters subdued an attacker and handed him over to the authorities, the police later released him on bail without charge. He claimed to be a senior member of Inkatha. By June 1992, he had not yet been charged in connection with the attack. Other victims of train attacks claim the police have not investigated incidents adequately. For example, a female commuter who was stabbed in the hand and back during an attack saw two attackers very clearly and was asked to attend an identification parade several weeks after the attack. She identified two of the attackers and was not contacted again by the police. Later she heard the police had dropped the case.108
In its interim report on train attacks, the Goldstone Commission did not assign responsibility for the attacks but noted that victims have repeatedly identified hostel dwellers as attackers. It was able to identify secondary causes, including poor entrance control at stations, overcrowded trains and the carrying of weapons in public. Poor entrance control at entry and exit points from train stations made impossible the prevention of attackers boarding trains and facilitated their escape. The Commission supported a suggestion that a separate guard corp be established to monitor commuter trains and called for the implementation of recommendations made in previous reports concerning security at migrant workers hostels.109
In August, the SARCC announced plans to form a security force early in 1993 to protect commuters. Other recommendations made by the Goldstone Commission also apparently will be implemented, including increasing the number of Spoornet guards, providing SAP members to control access to stations, installing communications systems between train drivers and security centers and passengers, relocating entrance and exit control points and reexamining the layout of stations. In November, however, following a series of attacks at the Kwesine Station, the Goldstone Commission convened again to hear evidence concerning train attacks. During the hearing it became evident that a plan which had been presented to the Commission providing for at least 24 security personnel to be on duty during morning and evening rush hours had been altered without consulting the Commission and during the attacks at the Kwesine Station, only two policemen were on duty. Counsel for the ANC suggested that the Commission should make recommendations on steps to be taken to secure stations and should monitor implementation of these steps and report regularly to the public. The Commission will meet to discuss the merits of this suggestion.
In December 1992, SARCC finally unveiled two prototype train coaches, featuring an array of security features including a video surveillance system, which would go into operation in 1993. It was stated that all 40 train sets operating on the Soweto lines would eventually be converted, although this would take place gradually.110
5. Covert Activities by the SAP
There have been persistent allegations over the last two years that, despite the unbanning of the liberation movements in February 1990, the security branch of the SAP is continuing to make use of secret units to carry out covert operations aimed at fomenting violence and at undermining the ANC. During the late 1970s and 1980s, one such unit was led by Jac Buchner, later promoted to General and made Commissioner of the KwaZulu police. The unit interrogated captured ANC guerillas, recruited some of them to be double agents, and used these agents, known as "askaris," to discover intelligence information on ANC military activities. President de Klerk has claimed that funding for such operations has ceased, but the indications are that illegal covert operations are still mounted by the SAP as well as by the SADF (see Complicity by the Defense Forces, below).
In July 1991, after revelations in The Weekly Mail quoting a secret police memorandum, the government admitted that payments had been made by the security branch of the SAP to Inkatha, to fund rallies in November 1989 and March 1990. The press reports provided detailed information of the funding, identifying which rallies were funded, which individuals were involved, and which accounts were used. In conceding that it had provided funding to Inkatha, the government claimed that the rallies advanced its strategy of combatting international sanctions. President de Klerk claimed all covert funding to Inkatha had been terminated in March 1990. In November 1991, however, following new disclosures by The Weekly Mail, the government admitted that the police had funded an Inkatha Youth Brigade rally in January 1991. Inkatha refunded more than $63,000 to the government at the end of July 1991 although the pro-Inkatha trade union, United Workers Union of SA (UWUSA), was unable to account for the $500,000 it had received.
In January 1992, researchers at the IBIIR took an affidavit from a Daniel Kolisang, who claimed that a group attached to the Transvaal Provincial Administration, the regional government, had attempted to recruit him to carry out covert operations, including gathering information and bombing ANC, SACP and MK targets in the PWV area. The operatives named by Kolisang in his affidavit were all members of the SAP. The IBIIR gave the affidavit to The Weekly Mail, which established that the house to which Kolisang was taken for recruitment was a police "safe house" used as a base for covert operations. In May, the police applied to the Supreme Court for an interdict to stop publication of details of the bases by The Weekly Mail and Vrye Weekblad, but reached an out-of-court settlement, allowing publication of more general claims.111
When the matter became public, Minister of Law and Order Hernus Kriel said that an investigation into these allegations should be referred to the Goldstone Commission. The Commissioner of Police admitted to the Commission that a nationwide network of covert bases had been set up by the police in 1988 and that the house referred to by Kolisang in his affidavit was one of eleven such bases in the country; however, he claimed that the bases were used only for criminal investigations. In October 1992, the Goldstone Commission released a report which found that the allegations made by Kolisang were untrue, but that the manner in which covert operations were conducted should be investigated by a non-police impartial agency and that guidelines should be laid down.
In March 1992, a deserter from the British armed forces who had worked for the far-right Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), claimed that he knew of security police involvement in a parcel bomb killing of a white ANC sympathiser in October 1990.112 In June, an ex-security policeman fled to the U.K. and stated that the security system continued to allow local police to murder political dissidents. Lieutenant-General John Horak had been in the security police for 32 years, and resigned in 1990 with much praise from the police hierarchy. He had been chairman of the Strategic Communications Committee of the State Security Council, itself chaired by the State President. He had been forced to leave South Africa following death threats after he confirmed that he had been involved in smear campaigns against opposition figures.113
On June 24, 1992 the Goldstone Commission raided a mine hostel in the eastern Transvaal, following allegations that a secret police unit at the hostel had been involved in the Boipatong massacre (see case 14 above). The Commission found more than 40 police at the hostel, including over 30 ex-members of Koevoet, a notorious anti-insurgency unit used by the SAP in Namibia whose members were supposedly absorbed into the Namibian security forces at independence.114 The police confirmed that the men had been members of Koevoet, but stated that they were stationed at the hostel to combat stock theft. On July 14, President de Klerk announced that Koevoet would be disbanded.
Although allegations of security force involvement in illegal covert activities are of their nature extremely difficult to prove, it seems clear that such operations are still being mounted by the police as well as by military intelligence (see Complicity by the Defense Forces, below). Africa Watch views these allegations with the greatest concern.
Complicity by the KwaZulu Police
Human rights organizations, political and church leaders and others have repeatedly reported that lack of confidence in the police, particularly in those parts of the KwaZulu homeland policed by the KZP, has prevented meaningful progress in peace efforts in Natal. Chief Buthelezi, the president of Inkatha, is also the chief minister of KwaZulu and the minister of police for the KZP. Residents repeatedly report instances of bias by the KZP in favor of Inkatha, of KZP assistance to Inkatha supporters in their attacks on supporters of the ANC, of KZP members attacking non-Inkatha supporters and a consistent failure by members of the KZP to investigate complaints made by ANC supporters. A representative sample of the incidents reported since January 1991 includes the following:
43. On July 21, 1991, the City Press, a weekly South African newspaper with a largely black readership, published an interview with a member of the largest township gang in the Durban area. The gang member claimed that the South African army, Inkatha and the KZP had provided the gang with arms, training and direction to combat the spread of the ANC in the area. Following the report, the SAP and KZP opened a joint investigation into the activities of the gang, the amaSinyora. In November 1991, the Black Sash Repression Monitoring Group reported that members of the gang continued to evade prosecution.115
44. On November 9, 1991, the KZP arrested three ANC supporters after an ANC meeting in KwaMashu. The police took the three to the police station where they verbally abused them, threatened them with a gun and told them that the police intended to shoot everyone in L-Section of KwaMashu. It was reported that the police quoted extracts from a speech Chief Buthelezi gave shortly before the incident in which he accused "comrades" (ANC supporters) of being dogs. The three were later released without charge after police confiscated minutes and the attendance register of the meeting.116
45. On February 16, 1992, eleven residents of the Uganda squatter camp, a pro-ANC area, were injured when members of the KZP and residents from Unit 17 (an Inkatha area) surrounded the camp and opened fire while residents were still asleep. The Unit 17 residents withdrew when members of the SAP and the SADF tried to stop them from attacking. Reports by the Human Rights Commission, however, indicate that the South African security forces did not attempt to interfere with the KZP. On February 23, the KZP again attacked residents of the Uganda squatter camp although there were no injuries.117 On March 13, 18 people, including 15 women and three children under the age of five, were killed and 22 were injured in another attack on the Uganda settlement. Residents reported that the attack began at 5:00am when between 100 and 200 members of the KZP led about 300 Inkatha supporters from Unit 17 into the area and fired at homes. A second attack was launched at 9:30am when two KZP vehicles escorted a group of Inkatha men into the camp. Residents claimed the SAP did nothing to prevent the attack. The Uganda camp falls under SAP jurisdiction.118
46. On February 16, 1992, at least twelve people were killed, 22 were injured and 17 homes were damaged when 13 bus-loads of Inkatha supporters attacked three predominantly ANC-supporting hostels in Esikhaweni in northern Natal at 10:30am. Residents reported that members of the KZP, the SADF and the SAP arrived at about 2:00pm and attacked the hostels after the hostel residents had fought off the Inkatha attackers. While the security forces were attacking the hostels, members of Inkatha were looting and damaging homes of ANC supporters in the area. Shortly after this, members of the security forces again opened fire on the hostel dwellers and assaulted them as they fled the hostel. The ANC supporters but not the Inkatha supporters were disarmed by the security forces.119
Pro-ANC KwaZulu residents have made many reports of KZP abuse and slow reaction when they have requested KZP assistance. Although appeals are still made to the KZP for action, in some areas local residents have given up attempting to gain police attention. For example, in November 1991, the Black Sash, an independent human rights organization, reported that in the Umbumbulu-Folweni area south of Durban, residents no longer report incidents of unrest to the local KZP members because of repeated allegations of KZP members and men in camouflage being involved in the attacks.
A joint Legal Resources Centre - Human Rights Commission report on the KZP was released in November 1991, and updated in June 1992, which documented, on the basis solely of information known to the two bodies without further research:
According to the report, members of the KZP involved in unlawful shootings or assaults generally were not arrested or charged. Any effort to prosecute members of the KZP was made by the SAP, not by the KZP. The report found an entrenched pro-Inkatha bias and a consistent failure by the KZP to enforce laws restricting the carrying of dangerous weapons before those laws were repealed in 1990 and 1991. It concluded that the KZP was a "barrier to achieving a lasting peace." There was no official response to the report from the KwaZulu government.
A study of violent incidents between January and June 1991, carried out by the Natal University Centre for Social and Development Studies and the government-funded Human Sciences Research Council, reported that the KZP played an aggravating and negative role in 55 percent of the events at which they were present.120 In July 1991, the then-head of the KZP, Jac Buchner, publicly admitted that the KZP were biased in favor of Inkatha "to a certain extent." The following day he was contradicted by Chief Buthelezi who denied that the KZP was biased in any way.121 Residents, however, continue to report instances of bias to human rights monitors.
In a March 1992 report on the violence in Natal, the Black Sash Repression Monitoring Group stated:
The report found certain common features in the violence in the Durban area in 1992;
Although the report noted that some KZP members were being prosecuted for murder, this takes place only in the minority of cases. Meanwhile, violence in the region has reached epidemic proportions and nothing short of a thorough independent investigation into all KZP activities can foster public confidence and trust in the KZP. In its second interim report released in April 1992, the Goldstone Commission noted the "widely held view by a large number of people in KwaZulu and neighboring areas that the [KZP] are a private army of [Inkatha]," and that allegations of wrongdoing by senior members of the KZP were under investigation by the Commission.123
The Goldstone Commission is investigating the violence in Natal, including the role played by the KZP in the violence. In its submission to the Commission, the Legal Resources Centre discussed the aggravating role played by the KZP. It said:
In its response to the Legal Resources Centre submissions, counsel for the KwaZulu government and the KZP claimed the allegations were unfounded and, pointing to the lack of cooperation with the KZP by witnesses alleging abuse by KZP members, asserted that these allegations were merely propaganda by the ANC to discredit the KZP.
In March 1993, the Goldstone Commission announced that it would conduct an investigation into the activities of the KZP.
Complicity by the Defense Forces
For years, the government denied complicity by the defence forces in the political violence, in the face of repeated allegations linking the SADF to abuses of ANC supporters and preferential treatment for Inkatha supporters, some of which have been substantiated in court or by judicial enquiries.
A 40-day investigation conducted by Judge Eddie Stafford into allegations of SADF misconduct in connection with the shooting of four protesters in Sebokeng in September 1990, found that a rifleman, John Booysen, was responsible for intentionally killing one of the protesters. The judge found that Rifleman Booysen intentionally fired the first shot which was followed immediately by a volley of fire from the other soldiers. In all, 162 rounds were fired from 23 guns in 22 seconds. Earlier, 38 people had been killed when an Inkatha war-party had attacked Sebokeng hostel residents. The judge found that the crowd had presented no immediate threat to the soldiers before the first shot was fired; nor had the soldiers received orders to fire. Judge Stafford sharply criticized the conduct of the SADF and described the internal SADF inquiry as a "total whitewash" of the events. He described the soldiers as "semi-literate and not professional." Those persons recommended for prosecution by Judge Stafford have not yet been brought to trial and no prosecution appears to be contemplated.
Many recent allegations also accuse the SADF of covert activities, similar to those of the SAP (see above, Covert Activities by the SAP), aimed at undermining ANC efforts to organize as a political party. The Goldstone Commission and government-appointed investigators have begun investigations of some of these allegations, but claims of risks to national security by the military frequently frustrate commissions of inquiry in their attempts to obtain information.125 As a result, few prosecutions of security force members for acts involving political violence have occurred and in only a few isolated instances have the courts found the security forces to be responsible for killings. The SADF still wields a great deal of power and remains unaccountable for virtually all of its secret projects. Only in December 1992, after investigations by the Goldstone Commission produced irrefutable evidence, did State President de Klerk finally acknowledge that Military Intelligence had conducted "dirty tricks" to obstruct political reform (see case 52), and dismiss some of those said to be involved.
Among the most serious incidents that have come to light demonstrating SADF complicity in fueling the political violence are the following126:
47. On December 6, 1991, The Weekly Mail revealed covert funding of organizations by the Military Intelligence (MI) division of the SADF. The newspaper alleged that a corporation called Adult Education Consultants (AEC) had paid more than $4 million to the South African Christian Cultural Organization (SACCO) and its affiliates, most of whom work in the mixed race community, and that AEC had given training courses to SACCO personnel. Those who participated in those courses said they had a "total onslaught" bias.127
On December 13, The Weekly Mail published further allegations of covert military activities from a senior source in Inkatha who claimed that AEC was a front for MI. According to the source, AEC set up another company, Creed Consultants, in Durban to facilitate contacts between MI and Inkatha which provided money for the training and support of 200 Inkatha personnel trained by the SADF. In July 1991, the government had admitted training 200 Inkatha personnel in Namibia in 1986. Creed had financially supported the 200 trainees for three years after their training stint. The Weekly Mail claimed it had traced more than $2.3 million that had been funneled to Inkatha from Creed. Neither Inkatha nor the SADF would comment on the allegations.
On December 19, The Weekly Mail revealed that five of the men trained in Namibia by the SADF in 1986 were wanted by the SAP on charges of murder and attempted murder.
On January 3, The Weekly Mail published an interview with Ben Conradie who claimed to be one of six regional directors of AEC and to have documents showing that MI used front companies, mostly posing as educational institutions, to train, support and assist organizations that would foster "black on black" conflict. The organizations all operated under the umbrella of AEC. Conradie's claims that payments had been made to amaAfrika, one of the groups to receive funding, were supported by a document from the head of AEC indicating that the funding was aimed at undermining the UDF (the United Democratic Front, an organization of anti-apartheid activists operating in South Africa during the 1980s. Violent conflict between amaAfrika and the UDF broke out in 1986 and 1987).
On January 10, The Weekly Mail revealed that its Inkatha source was Mbongeni Khumalo, who claimed to be a former national organizer of the Inkatha Youth Brigade and member of the Inkatha Central Committee. The Inkatha newspaper claimed that Khumalo was an ANC agent who was paid to leak damaging information; Chief Buthelezi denied that he had held such senior positions in Inkatha.
On January 14, Judge Goldstone announced that the Commission would investigate allegations of covert funding by the SADF.128 He indicated, however, that his investigation would be confined to examining evidence of current or recent funding. Under the law establishing the Commission, it may only investigate events occurring after July 17, 1991. The Commission heard evidence from M.Z. Khumalo, a former assistant to Chief Buthelezi who resigned after the funding scandal in July 1991, to the effect that the 200 trainees had been gradually incorporated into the KZP. Two members of a notorious gang, the Black Cats, operating in the Wesselton area in the eastern Transvaal, also told the Commission that they had been trained by MI in hit-squad techniques and were told during training that their enemy was the ANC. The gang was involved in numerous incidents of violence directed against members of the ANC in Wesselton until December 1991. After its initial inquiry, the Commission concluded it could find no evidence of recent or continuing funding but indicated that it would investigate the activities of the 200 Inkatha supporters trained in 1986. The Commission is continuing its investigation into the activities of the 200 trainees and the Black Cats gang.
48. In April 1992, the press reported that a former member of the SADF's 111 Battalion claimed that he was an Inkatha member and had been personally involved in the training of members of the Black Cats gang. He said that he had been trained at a secret camp in Mkhuze, in northern Natal, and in the Caprivi strip in Namibia before being recruited to join 111 Battalion. Following his recruitment, he had been involved in the training of the gang at a secret camp and in acts of violence against residents of Wesselton. He alleged that members of the SAP and the KZP, whom he named, were directly involved in attacks on residents in August 1990.129
49. Until 1990, the South African military was generally not deployed in the black townships. In the past two years, however, SADF troops have assisted the police in maintaining order in the townships and now about 10,000 troops are deployed daily to assist police in troubled areas.130 When they have patrolled the townships, members of the SADF have often resorted to repressive measures. In April 1992, members of 32 Battalion raided the Phola Park squatter camp in the East Rand, a pro-ANC area, killing two women, raping three and injuring more than 100. The raid lasted twelve hours. The 32 Battalion, composed of black Angolan troops under white officers, was used by South Africa in fighting in Angola and Namibia. At least 43 people were assaulted, many severely, during the raid.131
The Goldstone Commission investigated reports of abuses committed by members of 32 Battalion during the April raid and found that the battalion had used more than 200 rounds of ammunition. It found that the battalion had acted in a manner "completely inconsistent with the functioning of a peacekeeping force and, in fact, became perpetrators of violence."132 The Commission noted the attitude of the unit head, who claimed that the troops had only acted in a "heavy handed" manner but had not assaulted residents and who discussed the battalion's deployment in the townships in terms of a war situation. The Commission expressed concern that the unit head's attitude might prevail throughout the SADF and recommended that 32 Battalion not be used for peacekeeping duties in the townships in the future. The SADF reaction to the Goldstone recommendations was troubling in a number of respects. First, the SADF praised the actions and valor of the unit for past service as if that could excuse unlawful behavior. Second, it asserted that only the SADF could determine the deployment of SADF units. Third, and perhaps most troubling of all, was the absence of any comment by the SADF on the warlike attitude of the unit commander. Only after the Boipatong massacre and the ensuing international outcry in June 1992 did the government announce that 32 Battalion would be disbanded. In February 1993 the head of the army, Lieutenant-General Meiring, announced that the battalion would be disbanded on March 6, but that its members would be absorbed into other army units rather than being dismissed.
50. In May 1992, the New Nation, an independent South African newspaper, reported that it had received a memorandum written in 1985, suggesting that several anti-apartheid activists, including Matthew Goniwe, a UDF leader in the Eastern Cape, should be "permanently removed from society as a matter of urgency." Two weeks after the memorandum was written, the charred bodies of Goniwe and three colleagues were found. The memorandum implicated General C.P. van der Westhuizen, the present head of South African Military Intelligence, in the deaths. The news report alleged that the memorandum was seen and approved by members of the State Security Council, a body composed of members of the South African cabinet and senior military personnel.
Following a public outcry, President de Klerk ordered the reopening of an inquest into these deaths, but did not suspend General van der Westhuizen.133 In August 1992, Minister for Correctional Services, Adriaan Vlok, who was a member of the State Security Council in 1985, admitted that it had discussed the activities of Goniwe and the question of his reinstatement as a state teacher but denied that it had ever authorized his murder. Other disclosures that emerged concerning this inquiry, included claims by Colonel Gert Hugo, who had been in the SADF and the Ciskei intelligence service, that he had leaked the original document sparking the inquiry, and claims by Jennifer du Plessis, a police informant, that John Scott, a member of the Eastern Cape Command "Hammer" Unit had been responsible for the murder of Sparrow Mkhonto, one of those killed with Matthew Goniwe. She complained that she was required to give information concerning these claims to MI, the very organization that she alleged was responsible for the killings. Another former "Hammer" member also came forward and offered to help in the investigation but withdrew after only one and a half weeks claiming the investigation was going nowhere. Investigators complained that their telephones were tapped and that they were followed. Several months after the investigation was initiated, no interviews had been conducted with General van der Westhuizen or with the military person who confirmed he had written the memorandum that sparked the inquiry. In addition, when investigators from the Attorney-General's office reviewed documents at the offices of the Eastern Cape Command, they found that MI had already gone through the documents, allegedly to investigate how the original document had been leaked.
The inquest into the Goniwe killings resumed in March 1993. Documents were made available to the inquest by Major-General Bantu Holomisa of the Transkei that confirmed the original revelations. Furthermore, in the course of the inquest it emerged from testimony by a former MI member that the assassinations were part of a broader conspiracy to replace the then ruler of the Ciskei homeland, Lennox Sebe, with his brother Charles, to lay the blame on Transkei, and to create a "Greater Xhosaland" in the eastern Cape. A new party, the Xhosa Resistance Movement, modeled on Inkatha, would then be set up by the SADF to counter the influence of the ANC in its heartland. The outlines of the plot were alleged to be known to members of the State Security Council, including both ex-president P.W. Botha and current president de Klerk.
51. In April 1992, two Military Intelligence agents were arrested in London on suspicion of being involved in a plot to kill Dirk Coetzee (Coetzee had given evidence to the Harms Commission in 1990 indicating that the Civil Co-operation Bureau134 had engaged in assassinations of ANC members). The two agents were subpoenaed to give evidence at the Mlangeni inquest because it was accepted that the bomb which killed Mlangeni had been intended for Coetzee (see case 15 above). Pamela du Randt, one of the agents, testified that the purpose of their visit was to investigate links between the military wing of the ANC, MK, and the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The SADF produced documentary evidence outlining an operation codenamed "Echoes," run by MI whose purpose was to discredit the ANC by exposing links with the IRA. The documents indicated that the army head, Lieutenant-General Georg Meiring, had personally authorized the operation. Neither the government nor the army would comment on the operation.135 In February 1993, a BBC documentary was broadcast that claimed that MI had been involved during the 1980s in arms smuggling to Protestant paramilitary forces in Northern Ireland. Meiring denied that any such links existed.136
52. In November 1992, the Goldstone Commission carried out a dramatic raid on premises operated by Military Intelligence, and reported that the evidence it discovered showed that from May to December 1991 the SADF had hired a convicted murderer, Ferdi Barnard, to lead a covert operation aimed at compromising members of the armed wing of the ANC by using prostitutes, homosexuals and drug dealers. The Commission found that the team, many of whom were former members of the CCB, had access to government files, including police records, and had used a telephone bugging team. Following this report, President de Klerk again denied that the SADF was attempting to undermine the ANC but conceded that there could exist isolated individuals in the SADF who pursued such a policy. In response to the Commission's request that it be given greater powers to investigate the various south african security forces, however, the government opened an internal investigation into allegations that the SADF conducted a smear campaign against the ANC and refused to grant the Commission additional powers. As a result of this internal investigation, President de Klerk publicly admitted that SADF members had conducted a covert campaign to undermine the ANC and engaged in illegal activities, including murder. He dismissed 23 officers, including six generals, and several civilians. The President claimed that those dismissed were acting as individuals and not on behalf of the SADF. The President did not disclose the names of the civilians involved or the details of wrongdoing by the officers and civilians, nor did he indicate that a full-scale independent investigation into SADF activities would be launched. Several senior SADF officers, previously implicated in illegal covert activities, however, remain in place, including Chief of Staff of Military Intelligence, Christoffel van der Westhuizen, deeply implicated in the Goniwe affair (case 50).
53. In November 1992, the SADF admitted that it had funded a Botswana-based newspaper to spread disinformation about the ANC. According to the Weekly Mail, which published an affidavit by a South African businessman who was taking legal action against the SADF to recover millions of rands he claimed to have lost in the project, General Kat Liebenberg had recommended expansion of the project the day after Nelson Mandela was released from prison. The newspaper was closed down in August 1991.
54. In February and March 1992, the New Nation reported that SADF reservists and soldiers at Hartebeesfontein Commando, near Klerksdorp in the Transvaal, had been implicated in supplying weapons to Inkatha supporters and in giving para-military training to youths in the area who had been recruited for operations against ANC "comrades." New Nation revealed that Joshua Mojaki, mayor of Tigane township and Inkatha chairperson in the western Transvaal, was recruited to the unit. The newspaper claimed that the SADF had paid the recruits from $33 to $500 to carry out hit-squad activities in the area. Recruits allegedly carried out a taxi ambush in January, killing a driver and passenger. A police spokesperson confirmed that the four reservists named were attached to the Hartebeesfontein Commando but claimed that if they were involved in the violence it would not have been on official instructions from the SADF. Inkatha confirmed that several of those mentioned in the report were members but denied that they were ever involved in the violence.137
55. On April 28, 1992, it was announced that the inquest into the death of Dr. David Webster, a prominent anti-apartheid activist, would be reopened. Dr. Webster was shot dead outside his home in Troyeville on May 1, 1989. The Harms Commission inquiry had heard detailed evidence that the CCB was responsible for Dr. Webster's death (see Investigations of Police Misconduct above). In his findings, Judge Harms had not assigned responsibility for Webster's death; he noted only that many suspected the CCB's involvement.
In reaction to renewed speculation in The Citizen, a South African newspaper, of the CCB's responsibility for his death, an unnamed police source said that CCB agents had been involved in political murders and that the organization had a "virtual license to kill."138 In November, the inquest heard evidence from former members of the CCB and others who claimed that the person hired by the SADF to conduct a covert campaign against the military wing of the ANC, Ferdi Barnard, was the person responsible for Webster's death (see case 52 above) and that documentary evidence connecting the CCB to the Webster murder had disappeared during the Harms Commission inquiry. The inquest also heard evidence that the SADF had attempted to cover up alleged CCB involvement in the Webster murder when it conducted its own internal investigation.
In January 1993, Mr. Justice Stegman who presided over the inquest, concluded that the court had not received any evidence establishing beyond a reasonable doubt who was responsible for the murder of Dr. Webster. Human rights advocates protested that the appropriate burden of proof for the inquest was merely the balance of probabilities, and that the more stringent standard should only apply to criminal proceedings.
THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT
While the violence in the black townships continues, the government insists that only the ANC and Inkatha have the power to bring peace to the townships. This assertion ignores the reality that control of the SAP and the SADF, whose policing activities have a significant effect on the incidence of violence, rests with the government. Moreover, as discussed above, there is extremely concerning evidence of the continuing involvement of at least some elements of the security forces in covert activities aimed at undermining anti-apartheid groups and inciting violence. Unless trust in the security forces can be established, peace is extremely unlikely.
The most important step for the government to take in this regard is to ensure accountability for current and past abuses. The setting up of the Goldstone Commission in 1991 was a welcome step, but its role is limited. It is charged not with the task of establishing guilt or innocence but with recommending to the government measures to halt the violence. As a result, much of the evidence received by the Commission pointing to clear misconduct or unlawful behavior has not led to prosecutions or convictions. Moreover, the government has been slow in some cases to implement the recommendations of the Commission. It is essential that steps are promptly taken to ensure both that criminal charges are brought against state officers where there is evidence of abuse, and that the recommendations of the Goldstone Commission are carried out.
In two particular areas, the government itself has direct responsibility for the failure to take certain obvious steps; that is, with regard to the carrying of dangerous weapons, and the control of hostels for migrant workers.
2. Regulation of Dangerous Weapons
The South African government's lack of resolve to end the violence is demonstrated in part by its actions concerning the regulation of dangerous weapons, especially the so-called "cultural weapons," such as spears, pangas, knobkerries or sharpened sticks. Despite the shocking number of deaths and injuries caused by these and other weapons in the factional violence, the government has been indecisive and half-hearted in its efforts to regulate the carrying of dangerous weapons in public. In 1990, President de Klerk issued a proclamation applicable only in the province of Natal that amended a century-old ban on the carrying of dangerous weapons to permit the carrying of spears and knobkerries. In December 1991, a South African Supreme Court judge overruled the proclamation and in his decision said "[i]t is a notorious fact ... that black people of Natal have been exposed during the past four years to internecine violence on a scale far exceeding anything else in modern times, and that they have suffered atrociously as a result."139 Given the rising level of violence in Natal at the time, the relaxation of the weapons restrictions was not only unjustified but grossly negligent. Only in 1992, after 19 months of continuous attacks on commuter trains, did the government finally prohibit the carrying of dangerous weapons on trains.
The efforts to ban the carrying of dangerous weapons in public became highly politicized in 1991. In April 1991, following a number of massacres of its supporters, the ANC called on the government to ban the carrying of dangerous weapons in public. Inkatha has always vigorously opposed such a ban and claims that Zulus have traditionally carried "cultural weapons," including, in the case of tribal chiefs, battleaxes. Instead of taking a firm position on the matter, the government sought to reach a compromise but, following demonstrations by the ANC and its supporters, it finally banned dangerous weapons in public places, but did not include "cultural weapons" in the ban. In May 1991, the government banned all dangerous weapons, including spears, in unrest areas.140 "Cultural weapons" could still be carried to cultural events providing permission was obtained 48 hours in advance. Inkatha supporters often carry these cultural weapons to rallies and funerals. Since Inkatha claims to be a cultural as well as a political organization, efforts to prevent Inkatha supporters from carrying weapons have repeatedly been frustrated because of claims that supporters are attending cultural gatherings. Inkatha strongly encourages its supporters to defy the ban, and they have flaunted spears, sticks and axes at public rallies and other gatherings since the ban was introduced.
In practice, police have generally not confiscated dangerous weapons under these regulations. Police claim the ban is difficult to enforce and that few officers understand when they may legally confiscate weapons. Two Catholic priests signed affidavits claiming that on November 21, 1991, they saw policemen stand and watch while a group of about 20 men armed with axes and pangas boarded a train at the Mayfair Station in the Johannesburg area.141 When questioned about the incident, the SAP spokesperson said that it was not an offense per se to possess a dangerous weapon. However, the Lawyers for Human Rights regional chairperson disputed their claim and pointed to a Johannesburg Municipal by-law making it an offense to carry or have in one's possession any weapon in a public place. In an incident on January 29, 1992, in which black policemen attempted to disarm a group of Inkatha supporters at the Jeppe train station, a senior Inkatha official reportedly approached white policemen, who then instructed the black policemen to permit the armed Inkatha supporters to board the train. Black policemen said they were told that Inkatha members had permission to carry arms.
At the end of January 1992, police announced a ban on the carrying of dangerous weapons on trains. In February, the government announced a ban on the carrying of dangerous weapons and firearms in public and at political gatherings. However, traditional cultural gatherings or any ceremonial gatherings were specifically excluded from this ban. According to the law, if a person could prove that a weapon was not intended to be used aggressively, it may not be seized. Inkatha rejected "with contempt" the new regulations on carrying dangerous weapons. In June 1992, police confiscated a large number of weapons from a group of Inkatha supporters on their way to a rally. The following day, however, they returned the sticks and spears to the head office of Inkatha in Johannesburg, claiming they had no right to confiscate such weapons.
In its July 1992 report on the policing of public demonstrations, a panel of South African and international experts strongly recommended a universal ban prohibiting demonstrators carrying weapons or replicas of weapons.142 The Goldstone Commission has repeatedly called on the government to outlaw the carrying of dangerous weapons in public. In an interim report on its investigation of the Boipatong massacre, the Commission complained that the government had ignored previous recommendations, and had "partially but inadequately implemented" a recommendation requesting the government to ban the carrying of dangerous weapons in public.143 In July and August 1992, the government granted an indemnity from prosecution to all persons who turned in their illegal weapons before July 31 and enacted harsh measures for the further possession of illegal weapons, including stiffer sentences. The government also banned all dangerous weapons, including cultural weapons in 20 designated "unrest areas." Following the new regulations, ANC leaders in Natal, without the support of the ANC central leadership, began calling on their supporters to carry dangerous weapons to rallies. While not excusing this incendiary action, the government's piecemeal and reactive regulatory approach has certainly served to prolong the controversy surrounding this issue.
In an effort to respond to domestic and international pressure following the massacre of 28 people in Ciskei in September 1992, the government agreed to adopt stricter regulations on the carrying of dangerous weapons, but continued to insist that exemptions would be included to permit the carrying of "cultural weapons," despite the overwhelming evidence that they have been repeatedly used in township violence. On two separate occasions in October, thousands of Zulus marched through the streets of Johannesburg and Durban carrying spears and clubs in open defiance of the proposed regulations. Police did not disarm them for fear of causing a riot. Videos of the first march were taken to enable police to bring prosecutions against senior Inkatha officials who had organized and led the march. No prosecutions have yet been brought and none appear to be contemplated.
3. Government Inaction on the Hostels
Under apartheid policy, blacks who lived in the rural homelands were obliged to leave their wives and families behind when they worked in the cities. They were considered only to be temporary residents of white South Africa even though they lived there for eleven months of the year. Huge barracks-like structures were built on the edges of black townships to house these migrant workers.
With the abolition of influx control in the 1980s, thousands of blacks began to pour into the urban areas seeking employment. Many moved into the hostels where accommodation was cheap. Gradually, the hostels became shelters for the unemployed. Growing poverty provided advocates of violence a willing reception and over the latter years of the 1980s, political mobilization of hostel dwellers increased. Many hostel dwellers, with their roots in rural areas where tribal structures are strong, were more conservative and traditional in their political beliefs than their neighbors in the surrounding townships who frequently supported the outlawed ANC. Inkatha, the ANC's chief black political rival, seized on these differences and in recent years, hostels have increasingly become Inkatha strongholds. As political rivalry between the two groups increased, hostels often became the focus of their violent struggle for power in the areas around Johannesburg. At first, violent incidents were confined to the hostels themselves but gradually the violence has fanned out into the townships and confrontations between township residents who support the ANC and Inkatha-supporting hostel dwellers have become common occurrences.
From time to time, the police have conducted raids on the hostels and have confiscated dangerous weapons, including AK-47 automatic rifles. In April 1991, following a period of escalation in township violence, the ANC demanded that the government either phase out migrant workers hostels or convert them into family units. The government finally agreed to spend millions of dollars converting and upgrading the hostels. Almost two years later, however, although money has been budgeted, the government has made no effort to discuss methods of implementing its promises with township authorities, and few concrete steps have been taken to implement the agreement.
In the preliminary report on its investigation into the Boipatong massacre, the Goldstone Commission complained that the government had ignored a recommendation made in previous reports to fence off migrant workers hostels and to provide tight police security to ensure that persons entering and leaving the hostels were not carrying arms. The report noted that President de Klerk had promised the equivalent of approximately $95 million to upgrade the hostels but by July, the government had not yet taken steps to implement its promise. In September, following the deaths of at least 24 people in Ciskei during a demonstration, the government agreed to a number of ANC demands, including one that hostels in the most violent areas be fenced and that security be upgraded to provide more policing and random searches and that entry and exit controls be put in place to prevent hostel dwellers carrying weapons into or out of hostels. In November, the government announced that fencing of hostels was not practical because of Inkatha opposition. The September agreement has yet to be implemented.
In September 1992, the Goldstone revised its original recommendation that all hostels be fenced, and stated that only those hostels that have been associated with violence should be fenced. The Commission also announced that it had requested the Human Sciences Research Council, a government-funded think-tank, to undertake a study of the issues surrounding future hostel development.
In February 1993, the Human Rights Commission reported that peace committees set up by residents of some of the hostels in the PWV area had contributed to a decrease in violence between hostel dwellers and township residents. Other factors included an agreement between the ANC and the Transvaal Hostel Residents Association focusing on issues of violence, while many commentators expressed the perception that the focus of the struggle between the ANC and Inkatha had returned to Natal.144 Fencing of hostels has still not been carried out, nor have weapons been systematically confiscated. While the decline in violence is welcome, there is still an urgent need for the government to adopt a long term strategy to deal decisively with problems resulting from past and potential future tensions between township residents and hostel dwellers.
51 Human Rights Commission (HRC), Area Repression Report (ARR), January 1991.
52 Bill Keller, "South African Massacre: Fingers Point at the Police," The New York Times, June 20, 1992.
53 HRC, ARR, March 1991.
54 HRC, Human Rights Update, November 1992.
55 HRC, ARR, October 1991.
56 HRC, ARR, April 1992.
57 HRC, ARR, August 1992; Carmel Rickard "Attack at Esikhawini was an organized massacre, says ANC," Weekly Mail August 7 to 13, 1992.
58 HRC, Human Rights Review, 1992.
59 IBIIR Report, "Blood on the Tracks: A Special Report by the Independent Board of Inquiry," January 1992.
60 HRC, ARR, March 1992.
61 HRC, ARR, June 1991.
62 HRC, ARR, November 1992.
63 HRC, ARR, April 1991.
64 IBIIR Report, September 1991. HRC, ARR, September 1991.
65 HRC, ARR, December 1991.
66 HRC, ARR, June 1992; IBIIR Report, June 1992; Reuters, April 13, 1993.
67 HRC, ARR, February 1991.
68 HRC, ARR, September 1991.
69 HRC, ARR, February 1992.
70 HRC, ARR, February 1992.
71 David B. Ottaway, "South African Police Arrest Three for the Murder of an ANC Activist," Washington Post, June 10, 1992.
72 Farouk Chotha, "Goldstone to probe Hadebe slaying," The Weekly Mail, March 19 to 25, 1993.
73 Press statement issued by the office of the president of the Inkatha Freedom Party, South African Press Association PR Wire Service (SAPA), June 8, 1992.
74 "226 Policemen Killed in 1992," SAPA, January 4, 1993.
75 Christopher Munnion, "S Africa judge links police to murders," Daily Telegraph, May 5, 1992. HRC, HRU, April 1992. The judge was referring to laws that indemnify police for wrongdoing committed in "unrest areas" (many of the most troubled black townships) and which make it difficult to obtain information concerning police activities.
76 "Monitoring Conflict in Natal," SA Indicator Vol.9,No.1.
77 HRC, ARR, May 1991. Briefing document compiled by Lawyers for Human Rights, the IBIIR and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies on the events at Swannieville squatter camp on the West Rand on May 12, 1991.
78 HRC Monthly Repression Report, February 1993; John Carlin, "SA Police `negligent' over killings," The Independent February 19, 1993.
79 HRC, ARR, June 1991.
80 HRC, ARR, December 1991.
81 Report of The Commission of Inquiry regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation from the Committee established to inquire into the events at Mooi River on 3 and 4 December, 1991, released February 10, 1992.
82 HRC, HRU, April 1992.
83 HRC, ARR, May 1992.
84 Peace Action May 1992 Report.
85 Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Umtata Capital Radio, July 23, 1992.
86 HRC, HRU, December 1992.
87 John Perlman, "Soweto police must stop torturing us," The Weekly Mail, January 18 to 24, 1991.
88 John Perlman, "Police files: Their own unsolved cases," The Weekly Mail, February 15 to 21, 1991.
89 Interview with Africa Watch, September 8, 1992.
90 Peace Action, September 1992 Report.
91 John Carlin, "An angry son's life and death in the new South Africa," The Independent, June 1, 1991.
92 Scott Kraft, "S.Africa Police to Probe `Torture Camp'," Los Angeles Times, July 6, 1991.
94 IBIIR Report, November 1991.
95 Scott Kraft, "S.Africa's Feared Law Enforcers," Los Angeles Times, November 13, 1991.
96 IBIIR Report, December 1992.
97 HRC, ARR, October 1991. IBIIR Report, October 1991.
98 Judith Matloff, "Claims of prison deaths fuel police controversy," Reuters, July 27, 1992.
99 HRC, HRU, April 1992.
100 HRC, HRU, November 1992.
101 John Perlman, "Kriel rules out probe into police custody deaths," Johannesburg Saturday Star February 20, 1993.
102 HRC, HRU, July 1992.
103 "South Africa to probe alleged police cover-up," Reuters, August 7, 1992.
104 "Release of SA Policeman Sparks Outcry," The Independent, May 7, 1992.
105 IBIIR, "Blood on the Tracks: A Special Report on Train Attacks by the Independent Board of Inquiry."
106 Susan Smuts, "Inkatha train killer to hang," The Star Johannesburg, February 13, 1993.
107 IBIIR Report, June 1992.
108 John Carlin, "Shades of violence that stalk the township railway tracks," The Independent, London, November 11, 1991.
109 South African Press Association, July 28, 1992.
110 Robyn Leary, "Security Features in Soweto Trains Described," Johannesburg Engineering News December 4 to 10, 1992.
111 David Beresford, "SA police go to court to stem `dirty tricks' claims," The Guardian May 15, 1992.
112 John Carlin, "SA security police implicated in parcel bomb killing," The Independent March 3, 1992.
113 Richard Dowden, "Defector tells of system of murder," The Independent June 26, 1992.
114 David Beresford, "ANC links police team to killings," The Guardian June 26, 1992.
115 Black Sash Repression Monitoring Group, November 1-15, 1991.
116 HRC, ARR, November 1991.
117 HRC, ARR, February 1992.
118 Centre For Socio-Legal Studies, South African Conflict Monitor, March 1992.
120 "Monitoring Conflict in Natal," SA Indicator Vol.9, No.1, Natal University, Durban.
121 Black Sash Repression Monitoring Group, July 1-15, 1991.
122 The Black Sash Repression Monitoring Group Final Report, March 1992.
123 Second Interim Report of The Commission of Inquiry regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation, April 29, 1992.
124 Submissions and Recommendations Concerning the Investigation of Unrest Related Offences, the Administration of Justice and Other Aspects relating to the Violence in Natal - 1 December, 1992, of the Legal Resources Centre (Durban).
125 On November 18, 1992, Professor Ellison Kahn, head of the advisory committee set up to investigate state covert operations following the disclosure of state funding for Inkatha in July 1991, said that his committee had been deliberately misled by senior security force officers. He said that because his brief required the committee to delve into sensitive and secret areas, he had to rely on the heads of departments and other high-ranking officials to provide necessary information and documents. As a result, the investigation was largely under the control and dependent on the officials who determined what materials the committee could see. HRC, HRU, November 1992.
126 In some of these cases, proof of SADF involvement has yet to be verified from other independent sources. While not conclusive, these examples reveal a consistent pattern of SADF bias against anti-apartheid groups and complicity in fueling the violence.
127 This is a reference to the military strategy, developed during the 1980s, to maintain the apartheid system. The strategy required the government: (a) to grant certain concessions to conservative and other groups in South Africa whom it could then rely on for support, and (b) to devote all other resources to combatting the anti-apartheid groups who preached violence and insurrection. In "total onslaught" thinking, the whole society, including the civilian population, is a legitimate military target.
128 IBIIR Report, December 1991 - January 1992.
129 HRC, HRU, April 1992.
130 "Future army must be apolitical," New Nation, February 12-18, 1993.
131 IBIIR Report, May 1992.
132 Report by The Commission of Inquiry regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation on the conduct of members of 32 Battalion at Phola Park on 8 April 1992, released June 10, 1992.
133 "Death Squad Dispute Deepens in South Africa," Reuters, May 15, 1992.
134 The Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB) was a group of operatives working within the SAP whom it was alleged had engaged in various illegal activities, including murder aimed at undermining the ANC. The 1990 Harms Commission investigated these allegations but no member of the group was found directly responsible for wrongdoing. The CCB was disbanded following the Harms Commission inquiry. Many of its members were then placed on the payroll of Military Intellignce, an arm of the SADF.
135 IBIIR Report, November 1992.
136 Philippa Garson, "SA up to its `dirty tricks' in Ireland, The Weekly Mail, February 19 to 25, 1993.
137 "NEW NATION Exclusive: The Force Behind Inkatha," New Nation, February 27 - March 5, 1992. "HELP! Inkatha Lawyers' Plea to Nat MP," New Nation, March 6 to March 12, 1992.
138 IBIIR Report, May 1992.
139 "South African Judge Overrules De Klerk on Weapons," AP, December 13, 1991.
140 Unrest areas are those areas which the Minister for Law and Order has designated as "unrest areas" under the Public Safety Act. In "unrest areas," police have extraordinary powers of search and seizure, may restrict entry and exit, may impose curfews and receive indemnity from prosecution for alleged misconduct.
141 IBIIR Report, December 1991 to January 1992.
142 Testimony of Multinational Panel Regarding Lawful Control of Demonstrations in the Republic of South Africa before the Commission of Inquiry Regarding Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation, July 9, 1992.
143 Tom Cohen, "Commission Finds No Evidence of Government Involvement in Massacre," AP, July 6, 1992.
144 Alex Dodd, "New hope as Reef violence abates," The Weekly Mail February 26 to March 4, 1993.