About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

KwaZulu

In 1975, Chief Buthelezi re-launched the Zulu cultural organisation, Inkatha-ka-Zulu, as Inkatha Yenkuleleko Yesizwe, known in English as the Inkatha Cultural Liberation Movement. Chief Buthelezi has been president of Inkatha since its revival in 1975, and was Chief Minister of the KwaZulu government for its entire existence. He has exerted substantial personal influence on both organisations.

198. Inkatha dominated the KwaZulu government (both its executive and its bureaucracy) to the extent that the government and Inkatha became interchangeable concepts. The organisation effectively ruled the KwaZulu government as a one-party state and used KwaZulu government resources and finances to fund Inkatha party-political activities and in the execution of gross human rights violations against non-Inkatha supporters. The KZP came into existence in 1981 and was disbanded in 1994 following the April 1994 elections. Chief Buthelezi was the only ever serving Minister of Police in KwaZulu. Violations committed by the KZP are dealt with later in this report.

199. Both South African government officials and Inkatha politicians regularly failed to distinguish between the KwaZulu government and Inkatha. Vice-Admiral Andries Putter, former chief of staff intelligence (SADF) and presently an IFP official told the Commission:

Mr Commissioner, at that stage, as far as I can remember, I never myself drew a distinction between Inkatha and the KwaZulu Government. I never spoke of the Chief Minister as president of Inkatha... It was the view that existed at that stage. In practice, however, I did not realise one could not distinguish between Inkatha and the KwaZulu Government. It was basically the same organisation.

200. Former Inkatha National Council member, Mr Walter Felgate, told the Commission:

The interests of Inkatha and the KwaZulu Government were indistinguishable. There was never a conflict of interest, I can bring to mind no conflict between Inkatha and the KLA on any matter of principle, any matter of strategy. They were just one amalgam with operating bases and nexuses of people.

201. Former KZP hit squad operative, Mr Romeo Mbambo, told the Commission:

... there was no difference between the KwaZulu Police, the Inkatha Freedom Party and the KwaZulu Government. In my opinion, they were one entity... I received instructions from Captain Langeni [KwaZulu Police], Mr M Z Khumalo [KwaZulu Government] and Luthuli [IFP]...

202. Inkatha's largest constituency has always been the Zulu-speaking people originating from the rural areas of KwaZulu, although earlier in its existence it had significant urban support as well. Inkatha's presence outside of the KwaZulu tribal authorities was usually to be found in hostels, mine compounds and informal settlements in and around cities. Beyond Natal, clusters of Inkatha supporters (again primarily migrant Zulu-speakers originating from KwaZulu) were found in most of the hostels on the west and east Rand, and in the Vaal triangle. However, Inkatha's consolidated support-base was the inhabitants of KwaZulu over whom the organisation was able to exercise control through its domination of traditional authorities, township councils and the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly.

203. Taking into account that there was a symbiotic relationship between Inkatha, the KZP and the KwaZulu Government, the three institutions are dealt with together for the purposes of this chapter.

1970s: The re-birth of Inkatha and KwaZulu

204. Inkatha had its origins in an organisation called the Native Congress, established in 1928 by the Zulu king of the time, Solomon kaDinizulu. It was later renamed Inkatha ka-Zulu (emblem of the unity of the Zulu nation). By 1933, the organisation was largely inactive due to lack of finance and it remained so until its revival by Chief Buthelezi in 1969. In 1970, the Zululand Territorial Authority (ZTA) was established and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi was instated as the chief executive officer. In 1972, the ZTA was replaced with the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly, with Chief Buthelezi as the Chief Minister. Buthelezi promised his co-operation to the South African government but almost immediately began calling for more land, powers and recognition for the Zulu nation.

205. In the Inkatha Cultural Liberation Movement, Chief Buthelezi intended to transform Inkatha from a predominantly Zulu cultural organisation into a national liberation movement. He hoped that the revived organisation would fill the vacuum created by the banning of the ANC and the decision by the ANC leadership to leave the country and operate in exile.

206. Politics in KwaZulu in the late 1970s was dominated by the growth of Inkatha and its attempts to consolidate regional power and create political options beyond apartheid for the region. While the South African government placed pressure on homeland leaders to opt for independence, Chief Buthelezi refused to accept independence. In the first few years after the revival of Inkatha, the ANC regarded Chief Buthelezi as an important ally inside the country. He had been a member of the ANC Youth League and when he founded Inkatha, he was known to be an opponent of apartheid. The external mission of the organisation maintained contact with Chief Buthelezi and indeed encouraged their supporters back home to join Inkatha. While organisations in other homeland structures could easily be dismissed as puppets of Pretoria, at the time of its formation and for almost a decade afterwards, this was not said of Inkatha.

1979: The London meeting

207. During the latter part of the 1970s, Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi became vocal in his opposition to protest politics, economic sanctions and the armed struggle being promoted by the ANC in exile. This, together with his calls for investment and a free-market economy and his embracing of constituency politics, won him increasing support from the white business and white community at large. However, it placed him at odds with the ANC's leadership in exile. The leaders of the two parties met in London in October 1979 to discuss their differences. At the London meeting Chief Buthelezi accused the ANC leadership of being hypocritical and of having deserted black South Africans.

208. Chief Buthelezi interpreted the ANC's intentions behind the London meeting to be that they wished Inkatha to become an internal surrogate of the ANC.

209. This was unacceptable to Chief Buthelezi. In its 1996 submission to the Commission, the IFP said the following of the London 1979 meeting:

The campaign to render South Africa ungovernable was not directed against the apartheid state. KwaZulu and the IFP in particular have been the targets of ANC destabilisation policies since the 1979 conference failed to persuade the then Inkatha Cultural Liberation Movement to become a surrogate of the ANC.

210. Following the 1979 meeting, Chief Buthelezi faced growing hostility from an increasing number of Zulu-speaking people in Natal and the KwaZulu homeland for his rejection of the ANC's strategies and, in particular, for his decision to participate in the homeland system, to work through the tribal authorities, the KLA and the black urban councils. The two organisations' differing approaches to opposing apartheid laid the basis for the bitter and bloody political conflict that ensued.

The early 1980s: The beginnings of institutionalised violence within Inkatha

211. By April 1980, the national campaign of students against overcrowding in schools, lack of equipment and books, and lack of student representation had spread to schools in KwaMashu, north of Durban. Pupils participating in the KwaMashu school boycott defied Inkatha's calls to return to school, and clashes developed between the pupils and Inkatha members. Chief Buthelezi described the violent action taken by Inkatha members against the boycotting pupils as "discipline" and said that Inkatha was the best instrument to sort out the problems of discipline and the problem of lack of patriotism.

212. The boycotting of classes in KwaMashu continued through May 1980. During May, KwaZulu Minister of Justice, the Reverend Celani J Mthethwa, urged vigilante groups to join the KZP reservists. Also in June 1980, Chief Buthelezi said that he wanted to train an army to keep order, to prevent the destruction of schools and to control riots. He said:

I think it is time for Inkatha to establish training camps where branches and regions are schooled in the employment of anger in an orderly fashion. We need to be able to control riots... I think we need to create well-disciplined and regimented impis in every Inkatha region which can be called out for the protection of that which is so sacred to Inkatha and black South Africa.

213. The Inkatha Committee endorsed this proposal at its meeting in July. In 1981, a paramilitary training camp was established at Emandleni-Matleng, near Ulundi.

214. Chairperson of the Inkatha Youth Brigade, Mr Musa Zondi, said that the camp was "run with a paramilitary approach". Those trained at the Emandleni-Matleng Camp wore military-style uniforms and were organised into sections, brigades and companies. In his presidential address to the Inkatha Annual General Conference in July 1982, Chief Buthelezi said:

We have the Emandleni-Matleng Camp girding the loins of youth with the resolve of their elders and with the wisdom of ages, to move into the communities and play a devastating role with apartheid's enemies...

215. In his August 1982 address to the Inkatha Youth Brigade, Chief Buthelezi announced the formation of a paramilitary force of young Africans who would "take up the struggle for liberation".

216. Inkatha's fostering of trained paramilitary groups within Inkatha marked a movement in Inkatha towards the institutionalisation of violence. The provision of paramilitary training to Inkatha youths inevitably led to Inkatha supporters turning to violence and militaristic methods of dealing with their perceived enemies.

217. In 1983, the UDF emerged and adopted a strategy of 'ungovernability', opposing and undermining existing local government structures. The fact that, in Natal and KwaZulu, most of the local authorities were Inkatha-dominated, resulted in Inkatha being identified as the primary target. The Inkatha movement, in particular its leader, Chief Buthelezi, was insulted and ridiculed by UDF supporters. Also during 1983, a number of Durban townships were identified for incorporation into KwaZulu. A large number of residents in these townships opposed incorporation into KwaZulu. Non-Inkatha councillors withdrew from the township local councils as an act of protest and clashes subsequently occurred between those opposing incorporation (primarily UDF-aligned residents' associations) and those promoting it (Inkatha). Thus it was that the violent clashes between Inkatha and the UDF which came to the fore in 1984 centred on local government in the form of traditional authorities, urban councils or regional councils.

Lamontville

218. The Lamontville township, south of Durban, was one of the townships identified for incorporation into KwaZulu. A residents' association opposing both rent increases and incorporation and known as the Lamontville Rent Action Committee was formed. On 25 April 1983, Mr Harrison Msizi Dube, chairperson of the Lamontville Rent Action Committee, was shot dead. Five people were convicted of murdering Dube, including the IFP mayor of Lamontville, Mr Moonlight Gasa. The court found that Gasa had conspired to killed Dube, and that he had hired two men from the Transkei to carry out the murder. Inkatha did not publicly sanction or rebuke Gasa and his accomplices or condemn their actions in killing Dube.

Hambanathi

219. On 31 August 1983, the South African government announced that Hambanathi, a Port Natal Administration Board township north of Durban, was to be incorporated into KwaZulu. In August 1984, clashes occurred between those supporting incorporation (led by Inkatha) and those opposed to incorporation (led by the Hambanathi Residents' Association, which was affiliated to the Joint Rent Action Committee (JORAC)). Inkatha supporters killed at least three UDF supporters and attacked and set alight at least thirteen Hambanathi homes, including the homes of two JORAC members. Because of the violence, more than twenty-five families had to flee the township. Consequently, the Hambanathi Residents' Association laid thirty-four charges of assault against predominantly Inkatha members. A number of Inkatha supporters were subsequently convicted on charges of arson relating to the burning of houses belonging to non-Inkatha supporters.

220. The anti-incorporation violence spread to other townships, such as the Chesterville township, where an Inkatha-aligned vigilante group, known as the Chesterville A-Team, emerged to counter the UDF in the township (see below).

Ngoye

221. On 29 October 1983, five people, including four students and an Inkatha supporter, were killed and many others injured in a clash between students and a group of approximately 500 Inkatha youth brigade members at the University of Zululand ('Ngoye'), south of Empangeni. The clash was triggered by an attempt by the Inkatha leader to hold a commemoration ceremony for the death of Zulu king, Cetshwayo, on the campus, to which the students were opposed. In the clash, the large group of Inkatha supporters attacked the students' residences, breaking down doors and pulling students out from where they were hiding. The students were dragged out, assaulted and stabbed with traditional weapons.

222. Following the Ngoye violence, the Joint Staff Association of the University of Natal called on Chief Buthelezi to resign either from his position as president of Inkatha or as Chancellor of the University of Zululand. The City Press newspaper said in its editorial on 6 November 1983:

As president of Inkatha, [Chief Buthelezi] must either accept responsibility for the actions of the bloodthirsty militants that ran wild at Ngoye and weed them out immediately, or he must admit that Inkatha militants are out of his control.

223. In a memorandum written following the campus violence, Chief Buthelezi denied that the Inkatha Youth Brigade members had initiated the attack and, instead, claimed that they were merely defending themselves after they were pelted with stones from students. Chief Buthelezi said:

We all deeply regret the violence which occurred on Saturday. Our youth were faced with violence and would have been maimed and perhaps even killed, if they could not fend for themselves. We hope that is now abundantly clear that they can in fact do so... Inkatha youth need no protection, as the events on Saturday clearly showed. I must warn South Africa that if this kind of provocation continues which we experienced on Saturday, Inkatha youth will demonstrate their strength and prowess.

224. Former Inkatha National Council member, Mr Walter Felgate, told the Commission regarding Inkatha's stance on the events at Ngoye on 29 October 1983:

The idiom of the comment was, 'Now people can see that we're not a sitting duck, and we're not a lame duck and they must be careful of us'.

The A-Team, Chesterville

225. An Inkatha-supporting and state-sponsored vigilante group known as the A-Team was set up with the help of the SAP Riot Unit, in 1983/4 in the Chesterville township, Durban. Statements made to the Commission allege that the A-Team was responsible for the perpetration of human rights abuses in the township between 1985 and 1989. These included at least ten killings, several cases of attempted killing and many incidents of arson and severe ill treatment.

226. The picture painted by witnesses who gave evidence at public hearings of the Commission in Durban was that this group established a reign of terror in Chesterville over a number of years. They took over Road 13, illegally occupying houses in that road and burning surrounding houses in order to make a safe area for themselves. They also allegedly brought in Inkatha youths from other townships to bolster their power-base. Their sole aim was to target members of youth and other UDF-linked organisations. This they did with the active complicity of the SAP, including the Riot Unit and the Security Branch.

227. In his application for amnesty, former member of the Durban Riot Unit, Mr Frank Bennetts, gave evidence of the extent of the Security Branch's involvement in and collusion with members of the A-Team. He described the A-Team as:

a group of Inkatha supporters who were acting in their capacity, or so I believed, in assisting the police in the curbing of the growth and support of groups and organisations opposed to the government and the order of the day.

228. According to Bennetts, the A-Team assisted the Riot Unit by identifying alleged perpetrators and UDF activists to be detained. They also served as informants, passing on information to the security forces. In return, the Riot Unit offered them protection by putting extra patrols into the street where they lived, and giving them escorts in and out of the township if and when they required it.

229. Bennetts told the Commission that the A-Team members were never detained under the emergency regulations, although there was good cause to detain them. He said that had the police arrested the A-Team members, the incidents of violence in Chesterville would have been reduced "by 99.99%". In his words, '[The A-Team] wrecked half the township". Nevertheless, the Riot Unit openly and blatantly sided with the A-Team, perceiving the gang as a legitimate ally in their struggle against the UDF.

The Umlazi cinema massacre in August 1985

230. On 1 August 1985, Victoria Mxenge, an UDF executive member, was murdered at her home in Umlazi, Durban. A memorial service was held in her honour in the Umlazi Cinema building on 8 August 1985. Whilst the service was in progress, hundreds of Inkatha vigilantes armed with assegais, knobkieries and firearms burst into the cinema, and began randomly stabbing and shooting at the mourners. In the attack, fourteen people were killed and many others injured. Witnesses allege that the attackers included Inkatha vigilantes recruited from the adjacent shack settlements and from Lindelani, north of Durban. The soldiers and police were allegedly still present but did not act to prevent the attack. This was the worst incident yet of clashes between Inkatha and UDF. A document prepared by the Secretariat of the State Security Council in March 1989 had the following to say regarding the violence surrounding the murder of Victoria Mxenge:

Die moord op mev Victoria Mxenge, n radikale prokereur van Umlazi, op 1 Aug 85 waarvoor die UDF die blaam op Inkatha en die SAP geplaas het, was die grootste aanleidende faktor tot ernstige gewelddadige konflik tussen die UDF en Inkatha, veral in die groter Durban-gebied. Grootskaalse onrus het tot Maart 1986 voortgeduur en selfs die noodtoestand (Junie 1986) kon nie die sporadiese gewelddadige voorvalle inhibeer nie.

231. Inkatha failed to condemn or distance itself from the violent actions of the above-mentioned Inkatha-aligned vigilante groupings from Lindelani and Chesterville. Another example of an Inkatha-aligned vigilante grouping is the AmaSinyora from KwaMashu (see below).

232. During the early 1980s, Chief Buthelezi still had high standing in the international community and amongst South African (white) businesspersons. Part of this was due to Inkatha's official and international rhetoric of non-violence. This was indeed true of Inkatha's stance towards the South African government and the white electorate. Inkatha supporters did not bomb shopping centres or defence force installations, or kill black Security Branch members. However, Inkatha members clearly employed violence against the ANC/UDF and against other extra-parliamentary opponents of the state, as did members of the UDF. The following quotes from speeches made by Chief Buthelezi at Inkatha meetings or in the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly during the early 1980s indicate an increasingly militaristic tone emerging in his addresses to his constituency:

I want to find out whether our members think that adopting the following attitudes is consonant with non-violence or not: If someone hits you with a bare fist, must you not take off your boxing gloves and hit back at him. Is it the right thing to run away and be branded a coward?

If need be we will call for an eye for an eye and for a tooth for a tooth. However much we loathe revengeful politics, if that is the only way we can survive these unwarranted attacks on us, whether through rhetoric or real force, we will rather go into that kind of political action for our survival.

I believe we must prepare ourselves not only to defend property and life but to go beyond that and prepare ourselves to hit back with devastating force at those who destroy our property and kill us.

I have stated that our commitment to peaceful change does not take away the inalienable right which every individual has to defend himself or herself... We cannot, just because we are a peaceful movement, lie down so that people can trample on us or destroy us without lifting a finger.

Because we are committed to non-violence it does not mean that we are prepared to lay ourselves down as sacrificial lambs to be slaughtered by those who oppose us with violence.

The latter 1980s: Collusion with the South African security forces

233. By 1985, Inkatha supporters found themselves increasingly under attack by virtue of the positions they held within local government and homeland structures. Threats of assassination against Chief Buthelezi in 1985 prompted the Inkatha leader to turn to the South African government, in particular to the SADF, for assistance to take on the ANC/UDF. Contact with the central government had of necessity to be secret given Chief Buthelezi's public stance towards the South African government. During the latter half of the 1980s, Inkatha began to draw increasingly upon the support of the South African government, and to rely more heavily on the South African and KwaZulu government's infrastructure and resources. In the process, its aggression turned away from the apartheid state and became directed at those who were advocating alternative structures and thus threatening its power-base.

234. The South African government not only welcomed but also actively promoted this covert alliance with Inkatha, as it fell squarely into its response to what it saw as the total revolutionary onslaught against it. Covert logistical and military support to UNITA in Angola, RENAMO in Mozambique and to the Lesotho Liberation Army (LLA) was a critical part of the South African government's counter- revolutionary strategy. Although these operations were external, the State Security Council resolved in 1985 to establish such groups internally, in addition to those it was already supporting. Inkatha was seen as being able to play the same counter-mobilisation role inside the country as their external surrogates (such as UNITA) had played, and had become a "middle force" between the South African government and its political enemies. A common feature of the external and the internal operations, was that in both cases training and weapons supply were undertaken by the SADF's DST, and by Special Forces personnel.

235. Furthermore, the media images projected of white policemen assaulting and shooting at black demonstrators were clearly unacceptable internationally, and there was a feeling that repression should as far as possible not be carried out by state security forces, but by black surrogate groups. Part of the government's strategy was to characterise the political conflict in the country as "black-on-black" violence.

Operation Marion

236. One of the first instances of covert military assistance between Inkatha and the South African government was Operation Marion, the SADF Military Intelligence project set up in early 1986 in order to provide assistance to Inkatha and the KwaZulu government. During 1985, Chief Buthelezi was alerted by Military Intelligence to alleged assassination plans against him. This prompted him, in late 1985, to approach Military Intelligence with a request for various capabilities, including an offensive paramilitary capacity, in order to take on the ANC/UDF. His request was made directly to the then Director of Military Intelligence, General PH 'Tienie' Groenewald. According to Groenewald, Chief Buthelezi commented that :

although he was a supporter of a peaceful solution, the ANC must realise that if it uses violence against KwaZulu and its people, the Zulu, who has already received fame as a soldier, is also in a position to take violent action against the ANC. He himself would like to take the struggle to the ANC in Lusaka although at present he does not have such a capacity.

237. Flowing out of this was what has become known as the Caprivi training, the clandestine training in offensive action of some 200 Inkatha supporters conducted by the Special Forces arm of the SADF in the Caprivi Strip, South West Africa/ Namibia in 1986. Secret military intelligence documents make it clear that the project was undertaken as much to further the strategic aims of the South African government and Defence Force, as it was in response to a request from Chief Buthelezi. Planning for this project took place in circumstances of utmost secrecy, and involved the highest echelons of the State Security Council and Military Intelligence on the one hand, and Chief Buthelezi and his personal assistant, Mr MZ Khumalo, on the other. The defence force was at pains to ensure that the entire project was covert, and that the funding of the project could not be traced back to its source.

238. Training was given to three distinct groups - the VIP protection group, the contra-mobilisation group and the offensive group. Significantly, all three received offensive training. The training lasted six months and included training in the use of Soviet bloc weapons, heavy-duty weapons such as mortars and rocket-launchers, and the use of explosives, landmines and hand grenades. The trainees were taught how to carry out attacks without leaving a trace and how to avoid arrest, detention and interrogation at the hands of the police. They were also taught how to attack houses with the aim of killing all the occupants.

239. The trainees were controlled and supervised by a political commissar, later to become their commander, Mr Daluxolo Wordsworth Luthuli. Luthuli was a former ANC guerrilla fighter who had recently joined Inkatha after being released from a lengthy term of imprisonment on Robben Island. His appointment was authorised by Chief Buthelezi.

240. Luthuli was unequivocal concerning the purpose of the Caprivi training. He told the Commission that the training was aimed at equipping Inkatha supporters to kill members of the UDF/ANC. According to Luthuli and other Caprivi trainees who spoke to the Commission, this is what they were explicitly told by their SADF instructors. They knew that they were being trained as a hit squad.

241. The Caprivi trainees were centrally involved in the Inkatha-aligned hit squad activities in KwaZulu and Natal until the 1994 elections. The trainees continued to receive support, including a monthly salary, from the SADF until 1989 when most of them were enrolled in the KZP. Here many of them continued their hit squad operations under the guise of being official law-enforcement officers. The trainees received instructions as to targets and weaponry from Luthuli, their political commissar and commander, and from the local Inkatha leadership in the area where they were deployed. The link between Luthuli and Inkatha was maintained through Mr MZ Khumalo.

242. With their deployment in various parts of KwaZulu and the former Natal, the trainees were partly responsible for the dramatic escalation of the political conflict in the region, and fundamentally changed the political landscape in the former KwaZulu homeland, the repercussions of which are currently playing themselves out in this region. Their modus operandi, their mobility, their access to infrastructure and sophisticated weaponry exposed large numbers of people and vast areas of the province to their activities. As a result, they were responsible for facilitating the easy and quick resort to violence as a means of settling political scores and greatly enhanced the development of a culture of impunity and political intolerance that is so well established in the province at the present time.

243. Caprivi trainees were implicated in many of Inkatha's subsequent initiatives involving violent strategies aimed at countering the ANC/UDF. The trainees formed a large proportion of the Inkatha supporters recruited to become special constables (see below). They formed the core of Inkatha/KZP hit squads set up by Inkatha office-bearers in the early 1990s (see below). Several of them were employed as instructors in the Mlaba self-protection unit (SPU) training project in 1993/4. They were also central to a proposed plan for a KwaZulu battalion, although these plans were never realised.

Deployment

244. Evidence of the activities of the Caprivi trainees in their areas of deployment is documented in the KwaZulu-Natal regional overview, found elsewhere in the Commission's report. On their return from the Caprivi, a small group of the trainees who had received specialised training in VIP protection were deployed in the KZP's VIP unit while the rest of the group were deployed to IFP offices and/or KZP stations around KwaZulu and Natal. The trainees all received a monthly salary paid to them by Military Intelligence, through Mr M Z Khumalo of Inkatha.

245. At its special hearing on the Caprivi training held in Durban in August 1997, the Commission heard that in October 1986, approximately fifteen to twenty Caprivi trainees were instructed by Daluxolo Luthuli to report to the police station in the township of Mpumalanga, mid-way between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

246. Although they never underwent any KZP training, never filled in any KZP application forms, and were never screened or required to undergo any tests, the trainees were issued with KZP appointment certificates with the rank of detective constable. They were also issued with official police firearms, which they were allowed to take home with them.

247. Under the guise of being official law enforcement agents, they engaged in large-scale hit squad activity in the Pietermaritzburg and Mpumalanga areas for the next two years, directing their attacks against perceived UDF/ANC members. These activities are described in the KwaZulu-Natal regional profile (Volume Three).

248. The Commission heard evidence of the involvement of Caprivi trainees in the KwaMakhutha massacre on 21 January 1987 in which thirteen people, mostly women and children, were killed and several others injured in the AK-47 attack on the home of UDF activist Bheki Ntuli. A large number of people including former Minister of Defence General Magnus Malan and MZ Khumalo of the IFP, were tried for murder in 1996 in the Durban Supreme Court. Although the accused were acquitted, the Supreme Court found that Inkatha members trained by the SADF in the Caprivi were responsible for the massacre and that the two state witnesses, being members of the SADF Military Intelligence, were directly involved in planning and execution of the operation. The court was not able to find who had provided backing for the attack.

249. Witnesses who did not testify in the 1996 criminal trial testified before the hearing, and the Commission has made a comprehensive finding on the Caprivi trainee project (see Volume Five). In brief, the Commission found that the South African government provided Inkatha with a hit squad, and provided training, financial and logistical management for the project. Further, the Commission found that accountability for the human rights violations that flowed from the establishment of the hit squad lay with twenty-two people from the State Security Council, Military Intelligence, Inkatha and the KZP.

250. Caprivi trainees were implicated in political violence elsewhere in the province. At least one Caprivi trainee, Mr Vela Mchunu, was involved in the December 1986 attempted killing of one person and the killing of three people in Mpophomeni township, outside Howick, in December 1986 when workers at the British Tyre and Rubber (BTR) Sarmcol factory went on strike in support of demands for the recognition of their union, the Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU). The victims were prominent members of the union. Mchunu was one of the nine Inkatha members held responsible for the killings in the formal inquest (Howick Inquest 13/88) in 1988.

251. The Commission heard evidence of the activities of the Caprivi trainees in Clermont, a Durban township identified for incorporation into KwaZulu in the eighties, and of the role of Mr Bhekizizwe Samuel Jamile, the local KwaZulu Legislative Assembly representative and Inkatha member, in directing Caprivi trainees in their attacks against members of the community who were opposed to incorporation. Several notable members of Clermont were attacked during this period, most of whom were associated with the Clermont Advisory Board which was officially opposed to incorporation. Caprivi trainees were involved in the killing of Mr Zazi Khuzwayo on 9 May 1987, the attempted killing of Ms Pearl Shabalala on 15 October 1987, the killing of Mr Emmanuel Norman Khuzwayo on 28 February 1988 and other attacks directed against UDF supporters.

252. In 1991, Jamile appeared in court facing fifteen charges, including five counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder, and three counts of incitement to murder. In the indictment, Jamile was accused of being involved between 1987 and 1989 in the murder of UDF-associated persons opposed to the incorporation of Clermont into KwaZulu. Two Caprivi trainees, who were implicated during the trial, Zweli Dlamini and Vela Mchunu, were hidden by the KZP until the end of the trial. Owing to the inability of the police to trace these two suspects and other witnesses, Jamile was only convicted on two counts: one of murder and one of attempted murder. Jamile was sentenced to life imprisonment but was released in terms of the First Indemnity Act of 1992.

253. The Commission heard that Caprivi trainees were involved in spearheading offensive strikes at UDF supporters in the township of Imbali towards the end of 1987. Daluxolo Luthuli played a central role in directing a pre-emptive attack on UDF supporters who were allegedly intent on attacking the home of Inkatha councillor, Jerome Mncwabe (now deceased). In one incident, ten people were killed in fighting between the Caprivi trainees, instructed by Luthuli, and UDF supporters.

254. The Commission heard evidence that 130 Caprivi trainees were part of a group of 300 Inkatha supporters who were sent for special constable training in 1988, and later attached to Riot Unit 8 and deployed in the Pietermaritzburg and Mpumalanga areas where the UDF was said to be gaining the upper hand. Many were sent to guard Inkatha officials and traditional leaders and became involved in vigilante and hit squad activities aimed directly at UDF supporters. The Caprivi trainees appointed as special constables continued to receive their salaries of R700 per month from Inkatha, while also receiving their special constable salaries from the SAP. They also took instructions both from the IFP and from their formal employer, the SAP. The Commission heard from a former member of Riot Unit 8 who had worked closely with the special constables that as a result of the Unit's close association with the Inkatha-supporting constables, members of the Unit naturally sided with Inkatha.

255. Elements of the SAP Riot Unit 8, at all levels, and at the level of the special constables attached to the Riot Unit, deliberately acted, by omission and commission, to assist and facilitate attacks by Inkatha supporters upon non-Inkatha residents. The KwaZulu-Natal regional profile documents testimony from former members of the Unit who said that support to Inkatha also involved providing Inkatha supporters on the ground with weapons. The most well-known case of collusion between members of the riot police (including special constables) and Inkatha supporters is the killing of eleven people at Trust Feed on 3 December 1988, an attack performed by special constables and directed by Captain Brian Mitchell of the SAP, after a meeting between some local police officers and local members of the Inkatha leadership. Members of the SAP at higher levels were responsible for obstructing the investigation into the massacre. This, too, is documented in full in Volume Three.

256. During the mid-1980s, Chief Buthelezi was secretly recruiting Inkatha supporters for the 121 Battalion (the so-called "Zulu Battalion") based at Jozini on the Natal North Coast. Military documentation indicates that:

The Chief Minister inferred that the time was not politically favourable to take over [121 Battalion] as a KwaZulu force. A suitable date will be decided at a later stage. To make the transfer workable, future recruitment will be clandestinely cleared first with the Chief Minister or delegated representatives. The SA Army has already made financial provision for addition of another company during 1986/7. It is suggested that the selection takes place in the normal manner after the Chief Minister has been informed. After selection, the list of accepted candidates will be covertly presented to the Chief Minister, and only Inkatha members will be finally accepted.

UWUSA

257. The Inkatha-affiliated union, the United Workers' Union of South Africa (UWUSA) was launched by Inkatha in May 1986 with considerable covert funding from the SAP's Security Branch. UWUSA served to check COSATU's progress, but also generated conflict in the work place because of its aggressive pro-Inkatha and anti-sanctions stance. In June 1986, UWUSA members killed eleven COSATU- affiliated miners and injured 115 others in clashes at the Hlobane colliery, near Vryheid. Conflict continued in the months following and in May 1987, the Pietermaritzburg Supreme Court granted National Union of Mineworkers members from the colliery an interdict restraining UWUSA members from assaulting them.

The KwaZulu Police

258. The KZP was created by statute in February 1981 and had jurisdiction over the largest and most populous dormitory townships in the former KwaZulu homeland. It was disbanded in 1994, with many of its members being incorporated into the newly established South African Police Services.

259. From its inception, the role of the KZP was controversial, and allegations of political bias in favour of Inkatha, and later the IFP, were levelled against it up to the date of its disbandment in 1994.

260. The official policy of the KZP, stated in 1990 by the public relations officer of the force was that its members "may not belong to any political party." Whilst force members may not have been active members of the Inkatha, evidence submitted to the Commission shows that the KZP was a highly politicised, biased and partial police force, and was openly supportive of the IFP.

261. From the outset, Inkatha president Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi was the Minister of Police for the KwaZulu Government. Furthermore, during the most critical period of political conflict in the province, from 1989 to 1992, the commissioner of the KZP was Major General J H ('Jac') Buchner, a former officer in the SAP Security Branch. Buchner was described by former police captain Dirk Coetzee as "one of South Africa's top security policemen", who had "established himself as a brilliant and ruthless opponent of the ANC - as interrogator, state witness, logistics expert and planner of raids on neighbouring states". Amongst other things, Buchner had been responsible for the recruitment and training of askaris (or former ANC guerrillas captured and induced to work for the South African security forces).

262. A full report on the role of the KZP is not possible in this chapter, but examples of the KZP's active participation in serious political violence are given by way of window cases below.

Political bias, incompetence and general misconduct

263. In June 1992, the Durban branches of the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and the Human Rights Commission (HRC) published a report entitled Obstacle to Peace: the Role of the KwaZulu Police in the Natal Conflict. In the report, the HRC and LRC used court records, affidavits, witness statements and other documents to describe numerous abuses by the KZP, which contributed to the conflict in Natal. Among the abuses documented were the following :

264. There was no official response from the KwaZulu government or police to these allegations, other than in the submissions made on their behalf to the Goldstone Commission's enquiry into violence in Natal, one year after the report was originally published. In only six incidents mentioned in the Obstacle to Peace report did the submissions offer information of material developments that had not been covered (two of the six related to payments of damages by the KZP to complainants on the grounds that the complaints had been substantiated). In most cases, the submissions denied allegations, or stated that records were lacking or cases pending.

265. A study of violent incidents between January and June 1991, carried out by the Centre of Social and Development Studies of the University of Natal and the Human Sciences Research Council, reported that the KZP played an aggravating and negative role in 55 per cent of the events at which members of the force were present. The KwaZulu government countered allegations of this type in its submission to the Goldstone Commission by stating that there were complaints against the KZP in only 5 per cent of the communities in which it was the police force. However, human rights organisations attributed this to the reluctance of those subject to mistreatment to complain to the same police force whose members had mistreated them, and to the lack of independent lawyers to assist potential plaintiffs.

266. Further KZP misconduct has emerged in the form of the issuing of false police appointment certificates to Caprivi trainees by the former deputy commissioner of the KZP, Major General Sipho Mathe. When the South African Police Investigation Task Unit (ITU) presented a case for prosecution to Natal Attorney-General, Tim McNally, he admitted that Mathe did issue the certificates fraudulently, but said that the case was not serious enough to warrant a prosecution.

267. On at least twelve separate occasions between 1988 and 1992, the Supreme Court in Natal issued urgent orders restraining members of the KZP from assaulting or carrying out other unlawful acts against township residents. In one case, SAP Detective Sergeant Joseph Kabanyane and others interdicted the KZP from assaulting, threatening and harassing not only the applicants themselves, but also any other resident of KwaMakhutha township. Evidence submitted to the Court indicated that large numbers of KwaZulu police officers were travelling around KwaMakhutha township in vehicles and on foot, shooting indiscriminately with heavy calibre weapons at any visible township resident. No investigation followed the granting of the court order, and in his replying affidavit, the commissioner of the KZP merely denied that his members had been acting unlawfully.

268. The Commission heard evidence of the active participation of members of the KZP in what has been described as the 'Esikhawini hit squad' which was responsible for a number of hit squad killings in Esikhawini, near Richards Bay, and surrounding areas between 1991 and August 1993. The origins and activities of the Esikhawini hit squad, as well as a review of the violations perpetrated by its members are to be found in the KwaZulu-Natal regional profile in Volume Three.

269. One of the founding members of the hit squad was Mr Brian Gcina Mkhize [AM 4599/97], a Caprivi trainee who subsequently joined the KZP and was posted to the Esikhawini Riot Unit in 1990. Together with Daluxolo Luthuli and KZP Captain Leonard Langeni, at the time the officer commanding the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly Protection Unit, and others, Mkhize attended a meeting in Ulundi where the political violence between supporters of the ANC and Inkatha in the Esikhawini area was discussed. Mkhize told the Commission that at this meeting he was told that "the time had arrived to use the skills acquired at the Caprivi". He said that it was made clear to him that he was to take unlawful action against ANC supporters in Esikhawini. He was further told to gather reliable people to assist him. KZP Detective Sergeant Romeo Mbuso Mbambo [AM 4598/97] was one of those conscripted to the hit squad. KZP Captain Leonard Langeni was kept informed of the operations that flowed from the initial planning meetings of the hit squad, and supplied ongoing direction and logistical support to the operatives. Between them, the KZP and IFP members of this hit squad have applied for amnesty for over 100 killings. Instruction for the killings were received from senior IFP and KZP members. The activities of the hit squad are dealt with in more detail elsewhere in the Commission's report.

270. A number of other KZP members gained particular notoriety for killing people perceived to be ANC/UDF sympathisers and appeared to be immune from prosecution. Two examples of such police officers are Detective Constable Siphiwe Mvuyane from Umlazi, who on his own admission killed approximately 50 people, and Constable Khethani Shange from KwaMashu, who was jailed for several murders. Their involvement in serious human rights abuses has been extensively documented in other publications.

271. In 1993, the Wallis sub-committee of the Goldstone Commission was mandated to enquire into the role of the KZP in the political conflict in KwaZulu-Natal. The committee found that, for the most part, investigations by the KZP were "characterised by neglect, delay, disregard of elementary procedures and a failure to bring the offenders to book" (paragraph 47). In a further indictment of the KZP, the Deputy Attorney-General of Natal told the Wallis Committee that the standard of investigation of murder cases in the greater Durban area by the KZP was poor. Charges against the KZP included vague and incomplete witness statements with no attempt to corroborate their accounts or follow up on issues raised in the statements, no proper examination of scene of crime, failure to hold identification parades, loss of evidence and the failure of investigating officers to bring accused, witnesses or exhibits to court on request.

272. The Goldstone Commission's second interim report, dated 29 April 1992, stated that:

The widely held view by a large number of people in KwaZulu and neighbouring areas that the KwaZulu Police are a private army of the Inkatha Freedom Party is a matter of great concern in relation to the curbing of violence in those areas. No less disturbing is evidence that has been given concerning unlawful activities by senior members of the KwaZulu Police. (para 3.2.4)

273. Investigations by the Commission and other bodies have shown that high-ranking officers of the KZP were involved in covering up crimes committed by Inkatha and KZP members. Cover-up practices by KZP officers ranged from neglecting basic investigative procedures to deliberately tampering with evidence and concealing suspects and key witnesses.

274. The role of the KZP in covering up the crimes of Inkatha-aligned persons was demonstrated in the Trust Feed case. In this case, certain senior KZP and Inkatha officials helped conceal the four special constables who were implicated in the murder. Almost immediately after the massacre in December 1988, KZP Captain Leonard Langeni took the four special constables into hiding at the Mkhuze Camp, which fell under his command. The KwaZulu Department of Nature Conservation owned the camp. During this time the special constables continued to receive their police salaries, paid to them by Langeni. Later they were taken to the KZP barracks in Ulundi, and then to the homes of various Inkatha-supporting chiefs. In 1990, they were assisted in joining the KZP, despite the fact that all four were still being sought by the SAP concerning the massacre at Trust Feed.

275. Members of the KZP were also involved in the concealment of former KZP Special Constable Vela Mchunu, implicated in the December 1986 murder of three members of the Metal and Allied Workers Union (MAWU) from Mphophomeni. In order to prevent Mchunu from testifying at the inquest, KZP Captain Leonard Langeni and Chief Buthelezi's personal assistant, Mr MZ Khumalo, arranged for Mchunu to be hidden for a period at the Mkhuze camp. Mchunu said that both Langeni and Khumalo knew that he had killed people and that he felt that their helping to conceal him indicated their approval of his actions. In 1990, Mchunu was implicated during the murder trial of Samuel Jamile, from Clermont, and was again taken into hiding (see above). In March 1991, after the completion of the Jamile trial, Mchunu was issued with a KZP appointment certificate under the name Alfred Masango.

276. Other police officers and Inkatha members who were suspects in crimes were hidden from the SAP at the Mkhuze camp. Daluxolo Luthuli was hidden at the Mkhuze camp during 1988 following his release on bail in connection with the possession of an AK-47 that was used in an attack on a UDF stronghold in Mpumalanga. Caprivi trainee Bhekisisa Alex 'Sosha' Khumalo [AM 4027/96] was also hidden for a year at the Mkhuze camp following his release on bail on a charge of attempted murder. Mr Nyoni Israel Hlongwane [AM 4600/97], active in the Esikhawini hit squad, was taken into hiding at the Mkhuze camp when he was being sought by police in connection with rape, murder and attempted murder charges. When the SAP approached the KZP for assistance in arresting Hlongwane, none was offered. The other people implicated in the incident were arrested and charged and one of them convicted. Another Caprivi trainee and special constable, Mr Zweli David Dlamini, was hidden at Mkhuze camp for over a year after he was involved in a shoot-out with SADF members in Imbali in December 1987. Dlamini told the Commission that Mr MZ Khumalo and Captain Langeni arranged for him to go into hiding. In 1990, at Langeni's recommendation, Dlamini was accepted as a member of the KZP, despite the fact that warrants had been issued against him for attempted murder.

277. The vast majority of cases of alleged KZP involvement in gross human rights violations reported to the Commission occurred post-February 1990. The victims were almost exclusively people perceived to be sympathetic towards the ANC. The exception was a handful of KZP members who were eliminated by their own colleagues after they refused to cover up Inkatha or KZP criminal activity.

278. A number of KZP stations gained certain notoriety for severe misconduct and partisan policing. These included Umlazi, KwaMashu, KwaMakhutha, Madadeni, Sundumbili and Esikhawini.

1990s: The IFP-ANC war for supremacy in KwaZulu, Natal and the PWV

279. The role of the IFP in the political violence in the early nineties is dealt with under the relevant sections of the Commission's report. In brief, the IFP was found to the foremost perpetrator of gross human rights violations in KwaZulu and Natal during this period. Approximately 9 000 gross human rights violations were perpetrated by Inkatha in KwaZulu and Natal from 1990 to May 1994. This constituted almost fifty per cent of all violations reported to the Commission's Durban office for this period and over one-third of the total number of gross human rights violations reported for the thirty-four-year period of the Commission's mandate.

280. The Commission has made a finding that members and supporters of the IFP were responsible, together with sections and members of the state's security forces, for committing gross violations of human rights in the event which has come to be known as the Seven Day War which took place in the greater Edendale area outside Pietermaritzburg in the seven days from Sunday, 25 March 1990. In the event, over 100 people were killed, some 3000 houses were destroyed by fire and approximately 30 000 people fled their homes because of the violence. The vast majority of the people killed and injured were from the non-Inkatha areas, and the vast majority of the property damaged burned and looted belonged to non-Inkatha supporters.

281. The Commission heard that hostels in the provinces of KwaZulu/Natal and the Transvaal, particularly in the PWV (Pretoria/Witwatersrand/Vereeniging) area, became strongholds of the IFP in the early nineties, and that these hostels became 'no-go' areas for non-Inkatha residents of adjacent communities. In turn, IFP hostel-dwellers were increasingly alienated in these communities and were frequently attacked by youths from these communities. However, IFP-supporting hostel-dwellers were responsible for launching several large-scale attacks on adjacent townships and informal settlements in these provinces. Examples are to be found in attacks in Bruntville, Mooi River, in KwaZulu/ Natal on 8 November 1990 (killing sixteen people) and on 3 and 4 December (killing eighteen people). The overwhelming majority of these victims were non-IFP township residents. Hundreds of people died in conflict between IFP-supporting hostel-dwellers in the PWV area, and in attacks launched by hostel-dwellers on surrounding communities. Examples are found in the Sebokeng massacres of 22 July 1990 and 3 September 1990, the Alexandra night vigil massacre of March 1991, the Boipatong massacre of June 1992 and the Thokoza massacre of May 1993.

282. The Commission has made a finding that IFP supporters were conscripted into hit squads and that the activities of these hit squads became widespread in KwaZulu and Natal during the 1990s. From information received by the Commission, it would appear that the hit squad operations flowing from the Caprivi training and other political networks were predominantly supportive of the IFP, drawing in officials of the KwaZulu government and KZP as well as senior politicians and leaders of the party.

283. As such, hit squad members had access to KwaZulu government resources, such as vehicles, arms and ammunition. A measure of protection from prosecution was made possible through the collusion of the KZP as well as instruments of the state security forces. Further, Inkatha officials conspired with senior KZP officials to set up hit squads to eliminate ANC/SDU elements. The activities of the hit squads operating in the Esikhawini area near Richards Bay, the New Hanover area of the Natal Midlands, and the activities of a hit squad known as the Black Cats in Wesselton and Ermelo in the Transvaal are documented in other sections of the Commission's report.

284. The Commission heard evidence of the involvement of IFP supporters in the train violence in the PWV region between 1990 and 1993. Approximately 572 people died in more than 600 incidents of train violence.

285. Inkatha supporters were also responsible for the commission of gross human rights violations in the province of KwaZulu/Natal in the run-up to the 1994 elections, when the IFP engaged in a campaign to disrupt the electoral process. During this period, Inkatha received arms and ammunition from right-wing organisations as well as sections of the security forces and embarked upon paramilitary training projects in which IFP supporters were trained in weapons handling and paramilitary tactics. This campaign continued until 29 April, just six days before the elections, when the IFP announced that it would contest the elections. The Commission found that approximately 3 000 gross human rights violations were perpetrated by Inkatha in KwaZulu and Natal from July 1993 to May 1994. This constituted more than 55 per cent of all violations reported to the Commission's Durban office for this period.

286. At the same time, the Commission has found that Inkatha supporters, members and leaders were the target of sustained violent attack in many areas of KwaZulu and the former Natal during period of the late 1980s and early 1990s as relations between the ANC and Inkatha deteriorated steadily following the 1979 meeting of the two organisations in London.

287. Evidence before the Commission dealing with those instances when members and supporters of the IFP were victims of aggression by members of the UDF/ANC is found in the Liberation Movements chapter of this volume. Cases are also dealt with in the KwaZulu/Natal regional profile.

288. The IFP submitted to the Commission a document listing 420 cases where IFP party office-bearers had been killed, allegedly by members and supporters of the UDF/ANC. Cases documented occurred between August 1985 and August 1996. The Commission's Durban office conducted an intensive investigation into the 289 listed cases falling within the boundaries of the Commission's mandate. The results of the investigation are documented in the Liberation Movements chapter.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.