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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Chapter Eleven: Other Views on Violence in KwaZulu/Natal from 1992 to 1994

Thus far this study has described the theories developed by both the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) to explain political violence in Kwa-Zulu/Natal. It has also outlined the evidence relied upon by each organisation to substantiate its perspective. It now remains to consider the assessment made by each organisation of the theory developed by the other, as well as to examine the views of other commentators. The commentators canvassed-in interviews conducted primarily in 1993-include the South African Police (SAP), journalists and academics. Relevant reports from 1992 to 1994 of the Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, chaired by Mr Justice R J Goldstone (the Goldstone commission), are also described, as well as those prepared at the instance of the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) in early 1994. Comments by the ANC and the IFP on the reports of the Goldstone commission and the TEC are canvassed in addition.

Comments on the ANC's Perspective

The ANC's perspective, in brief summary, is that political violence in KwaZulu/Natal was perpetrated primarily by the IFP (and its predecessor, Inkatha). Violence stemmed from the collaboration of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the IFP president, with the (former) South African government. Both Pretoria and Ulundi were fearful of the increasing popularity and power of the ANC alliance, and hence both had an interest in attacking and destabilising the ANC and its ally, the United Democratic Front (UDF), as well as the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

The IFP's Comments on the ANC Theory

The IFP has rejected the ANC's perspective, and queried the assumptions which underpin the theory developed by the ANC alliance:

If you look at the IFP as an organisation, you can assess the interaction between its leadership and membership. If you look at IFP literature and the message put out by the IFP over the years, none of these inputs has been designed to produce the kind of organisation postulated by the ANC.

The theory implies that the whole of the IFP is capable of having that kind of coherent intention. If this were true, it would be a grassroots phenomenon. It would be an organisational characteristic. But if you go to the grassroots of Inkatha supporters, you will not find that dimension. An organisation as decentralised as the IFP could not respond in this way, with such central direction.

The IFP has found it very difficult to control the regions from the centre. The Transvaal leadership is an important problem for the IFP. There has been internal tension, a lack of coherency. In the greater Durban area, if you look for evidence of the political solidarity the ANC model would call for, you find that it does not gel. Ntombela in Pietermaritzburg, Shabalala in Lindelani, are powerful men with powerful followings, who do not come to meetings of the central committee of the IFP.

There is no authoritarian line which comes from the president to the local leadership. Also, if you ask these local leaders, 'When last did you speak to Buthelezi, when last did you contact Ulundi or go there?,' you will find that the flow of information and people from Ulundi is nil. The ANC theory presupposes a highly centralised system, with single direction.

Another factor is that-far from colluding with the state-Buthelezi has, over the decades since 1976, suffered enormously because he has not done populist things. Biko sent him a message to abandon his KwaZulu base, to join him and become the leader of the BCM [Black Consciousness Movement]. He did not do this. He got numerous messages from Tambo, calling on him to support armed struggle and sanctions. He defied these.

He also defied the pressures from Pretoria. There was no communication between Buthelezi and P W Botha for six years. Through much of the period after 2 February 1990 relations between the government and the IFP were at a low ebb-particularly after the Record of Understanding in September 1992. The IFP entirely distrusted the government. There was a strong perception that the ANC and the government were in bed, and were trying to take over the whole constitutional negotiation process

In addition, collusion between De Klerk and Buthelezi could not have taken place at presidential level. It would have had to involve subordinates-generals and warlords. These would have had to agree on strategy, training, and so forth. It is absurd to suggest that this happened.

The ANC's theory represents a continuation of the 'we/they' syndrome. People who worked in the system were automatically deemed collaborators. The ANC were the true leaders, versus the bantustan leaders. The theory reflects this well-worn and simplistic argument.

In addition, spokesmen for the IFP have stated that the ANC theory takes no account of the significant number of Inkatha leaders and office-bearers who have been assassinated over the years. According to the IFP the death toll of its leadership, in June 1995, stood at 384. IFP leaders, moreover, had not been killed in the heat of battle but had deliberately been targeted for systematic assassination:

There has also been a pattern of violence against the IFP. The office-bearers of the IFP have been, not just killed, but assassinated. It is a hideous situation. You can take them, one at a time, and plot them on a map. By and large, the IFP leaders who have been killed have been killed in IFP strongholds, in no-go areas for the ANC. They have been pinpointed by name and targeted.

The ANC theory, states the IFP, entirely fails to explain who has been responsible for the killing of IFP leaders. It could not have been the former government, for the IFP-according to the ANC theory-had long been its surrogate, acting in collusion with it in propagating low intensity war against the ANC alliance. Nor, for obvious reasons, could it have been the IFP itself. If the ANC alliance were an innocent victim of IFP aggression-as the ANC theory also postulates-who, then, could have been responsible for the assassination of almost 400 IFP leaders over a period of 15 years?

Comments by Others on the ANC Theory

A senior academic at the University of Durban-Westville has said that there are elements of truth in the ANC theory, but that it is also simplistic and one-sided:

The ANC theory is an elaboration and refinement of a view that was prevalent in Natal for some time. It was the dominant view in the 1980s. In its simplest form, it saw Buthelezi as a puppet of the South African state, playing out the state's role in the region

There are a number of problems with the theory. It presented Buthelezi, Inkatha and KwaZulu as puppets. They were not puppets in that they had their own powerbases within the population. It is difficult to know how big they were and they were probably shrinking But they did have their own power structures-the whole apparatus of the homeland system, their own party resources to deploy. They were not reducible to surrogates of the state.

At the same time, however, they did have a relationship with the state. This was a complex one, which involved both conflict and collusion. There was a commonality of interest to some extent-but also a conflict of interest. The relationship changed over time. In the early 1990s, what had been a degree of collusion changed towards conflict and antagonism. This was evident in the tensions between Buthelezi and De Klerk The SAP worked closely with Inkatha at a certain point. This then changed, and the SAP became at times antagonistic to Inkatha. It was a highly variable situation

The whole way this theory is put presents the ANC as passive, Inkatha as active. Inkatha is regarded as responsible for all the doing. What lies behind this theory-and is not stated-is that the ANC also had its own agenda, that it also took action of various kinds which brought it into conflict with Inkatha.

The ANC explanation is a weak one. It identifies one of the partners in an antagonistic relationship as the sole source of the problem.

The best view is that of Goldstone, who also did the most detailed investigation of the conflict. The main conflict has been between the ANC and Inkatha. The police and state were not the primary causes of the violence, as active agents. They intervened at times, sometimes in a clandestine way. Sometimes they played a role through incompetence and failure to act, thus accentuating the problem. The police also carried the historical legacy of being associated with apartheid. This meant that, even if they were not acting partially, they still tended to be seen to be doing so. There was also a fairly high level of state collusion at times to destabilise the ANC. The evidence of this is now emerging.

The weakness in the ANC argument is that it represents the [former] state in a monolithic and homogeneous way. It presents the state as having acted in a unified way, using the security forces and Inkatha in a well-worked out strategy of destabilisation. This was simply not true. The state was a highly fragmented, multi-faceted creature. It reflected what was happening in the broader society. There was also a breakdown within the state into a number of semi-autonomous actors, whose lines of authority were often blurred and inconsistent.

There were conflicting trends in the police and the military. One arm of the state did one thing, and the other something else. Boipatong was a good example of this. There is no evidence to show that De Klerk had any role. He was not instrumental in this, though this was argued by the ANC. It is also not clear what the police role was. They might have been drawn in later. It seems that they had some knowledge and should have acted earlier. But there was not a complete knowledge or understanding or a synchronisation of action.

On the other hand, it seems that the military may have intervened, that the NIS [National Intelligence Service] had links with Inkatha. The evidence is emerging of deliberate efforts to destabilise and kill target people in the ANC. But Goldstone has not pinned this down. There is no clear evidence, just possible actions.

Regarding the former government, there does seem to have been a structured or formalised non-accountability. This was a critical issue. Senior officers gave general directives to lower level ones. The latter had a latitude which was wide. Some committed atrocities. There was no clear reporting back system to make the higher levels accountable. This was important because it protected the top levels, and also gave latitude to the lower levels to act as they saw fit and to commit atrocities. Because this absence of accountability was structured into the system, it made it possible for this to happen.

A lot of police complicity in violence did occur in the 1980s, right up to 1990. There were a series of exposures. The people involved in this became more vulnerable and this led to a halting shift regarding involvement in clandestine destabilisation.

While there was a trend away from state complicity, it was uneven. Some police officers kept a much tighter rein. Some continued the long-established practices.

Another aspect of the ANC theory is its lack of distinction between the structural foundations and context for violence, and the actual agency (who was doing what). The structures generated by apartheid created a context of antagonism-conditions which were conducive to violence. In this way, the [former] state had a responsibility. It was responsible for a policy which created a legacy of, and conditions for, violence. The state had a historical culpability-but this was different from actual agency, especially in the 1990s.

The overall theory does contain some truth but it is also partial and one-sided.

My feeling, in addition, is that simplistic renderings of the violence have not helped in resolving it. You then get involved in 'labelling'. You cannot get to the root of the conflict.

A senior police officer then seconded to the Goldstone commission agreed with many aspects of this assessment:

I have never found conclusive evidence that the [former] state's involvement in violence was being directed from the top as a well co-ordinated strategy. Given the evidence which emerged in the Trust Feed case, I still have doubts regarding the motive of the state. I do not think that it was part of an ongoing strategy, however. Rather, it was a combination of effects that caused those killings. I do not think that, in the 1990s, there was a co-ordinated drive to destabilise the ANC. The violence became a thing feeding off itself. All the major parties probably wanted to withdraw and were doing all they could, but all (including the security forces) had renegade members at grassroots level.

I really cannot see that De Klerk or the commissioner of the SAP or a leadership figure in the army would secretly have supported violence It was too dangerous to do it, especially with the presence of the Goldstone commission and all the international observers. The attention of the world was on the violence.

By contrast, a senior academic at the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg) and former member of the UDF has stated that the ANC theory is generally valid, but is difficult to prove:

This theory has been difficult to prove. The former government/power bloc was in the process of reform/political transition and it intended to keep control of it. When various forces and international conjunctions led it to the conclusion that there had to be a negotiated settlement, either it-or elements in the KwaZulu forces-decided to disable the opposition, so that the ANC and its allies would be unable to capitalise on the liberalisation. Within this scenario, the use-or rather, misuse-of Inkatha was one of the factors. The war was a disabling mechanism-cheap for the state, and one which would get little bad publicity overseas.

It is difficult to prove but there is something in it. There has been too much evidence of partisanship, bad faith, action by the security forces (including the KZP [KwaZulu Police]) for it to be discounted. It certainly led to the blatant ignoring of acts of murder by Inkatha (though also by the ANC). Predominantly it resulted in some Inkatha leaders having immunity, even though they were murderers. David Ntombela was the classic example.

It is also difficult to see what benefit the government derived from the strategy. But if you accept the validity of this conspiracy, the key question is who thought it would benefit the government or white power. If this conspiracy took place among the generals or the colonels, they were not necessarily attuned to the economic backlash. They might then have made a political misjudgement.

If the conspiracy took place at a higher level, it becomes more difficult to rationalise. But other factors must also be remembered-including the fact that the violence was only given publicity because of the monitoring groups and the media. This would have raised the cost factor to the government, in a way it did not expect.

A senior journalist and editor in Pietermaritzburg has unequivocally endorsed the ANC's perspective:

I agree with the theory It has been evidenced in the [former] state allowing or activating the violence by not taking decisive action against it. In addition-since the ANC was the most popular liberation movement-it followed that once a great number of people had died, the average 'group' of 500 ANC supporters in the country would have experienced violence at first hand, through the death of a friend or family member. These people would then ask why there should be violence. Their appetite for black leadership would be blunted. The people who suffered most from this were the ANC, who had spent years of martyrdom building black support. Then rumblings arose, 'If Mandela is president, there will be no peace in the country. It was better before Mandela was released.'

F W de Klerk was a better leader than his predecessors, but he also played a very clever trick. He was like Dingane. Dingane said to Retief, 'Come in, leave your weapons, you can have a braaivleis.' De Klerk also said, 'You can come back [from exile], or out of jail. I will offer you beer and braaivleis. Leave your weapons outside, by suspending MK [Umkhonto we Sizwe].' It is history repeating itself. I do not know if it was planned this way, but this is how it is projecting itself.

The [former] government also benefited from the violence because it gained time to proceed with the planning of agendas. If one did not work, it had time to try something else. Behind it lay still the influence of the Afrikaner Broederbond. The key leaders in the National Party were Broederbond. This was still the think-tank that was influencing events. The Broederbond was masterminding it, trying a variety of strategies at different times.

Comments on the IFP's Perspective

The perspective of the IFP, in brief overview, is that violence in KwaZulu/Natal originated in the ANC's strategy of ungovernability and was exacerbated by the ANC's determination to eliminate its political rivals and establish itself as the hegemonic leader of the black population and, hence, of South Africa as a whole. For this purpose, the ANC deployed Umkhonto we Sizwe (Umkhonto) and 'self-defence units' (SDUs) to attack and harass IFP leaders and communities-to decapitate the party and make the costs of supporting it too high for most individuals to sustain.

The ANC's Comments on the IFP Theory

In commenting on the IFP's perspective, members of the ANC alliance have tended to repeat the ANC's own theory of the conflict, rather than to answer the IFP's accusation that the violence stemmed from the strategy of ungovernability advocated by the ANC alliance from the early 1980s. Some have acknowledged that violence resulted from the strategy, but have said that this was justified by the need to rid the country of apartheid. They have also denied that Inkatha was a specific target of the strategy, and have said it would not have been affected if it had not been so closely identified with black councillors and the apartheid system.

According to a senior official in the ANC's Natal Midlands region, the IFP theory is mistaken and distorted:

This theory is one-sided. It distorts facts and events. The UDF never had large bands of people on the attack. You never saw the ANC armed to the teeth shouting war slogans The struggle of the ANC was a struggle against apartheid and to bring about democracy, to end apartheid in all its manifestations. It was not a struggle against Inkatha. Insofar as the bantustans oppressed the people, they were a part of the enemy. Those structures were perpetuating crimes against our people. Therefore they were a legitimate target.

The ANC never declared Inkatha itself as the enemy. But Buthelezi began openly to collude with the security forces. Hence it was said that he was a snake who should be hit on the head. We did this just as we condemned Mangope, Sebe, etc. Buthelezi was actively collaborating in the killing of our people. But this was different from saying that Inkatha was the enemy. The enemy was the apartheid structures.

Asked to comment on the IFP's perspective, a former general secretary of the South African Communist Party, Mr Chris Hani, acknowledged that the ungovernability strategy espoused by the ANC alliance had moved beyond rhetoric to physical attack. It was Inkatha's fault, he indicated, that it had become the target of such violence, because Inkatha had identified too closely with black councillors and the apartheid system. He added that Inkatha had also been perturbed by the growth of support for its political rival, the UDF, and had initiated the conflict for this reason:

One should accept that, at one point, we had a strategy of rendering the apartheid state ungovernable and apartheid unworkable. We preached the politics of complete non-cooperation. We did not only confine ourselves to that rhetoric. We moved out to attack the institutions of white minority rule-the BLAs [Black Local Authorities], the collaborationist chiefs, the police (both black and white), whom we saw as instruments of oppression. During this phase, many policemen were killed. Also councillors.

The apartheid government had survived for a long time because of co-opting blacks. It could not have policed and administered the country without thousands of blacks in the police, army, in the overall administration of apartheid. The effectiveness of Pretoria's administration was because of the collaboration of black people. This had to end.

Inkatha then moved in by identifying itself with the instruments of minority rule. It even recruited councillors to Inkatha. We indicted them because of their own support for the system. If councillors were killed, Inkatha said 'we are being killed'. An attack on councillors came to be seen as an attack on Inkatha.

If people argue that violence is derived from that strategy, yes, this is so. But this was only insofar as Inkatha began to identify itself with the institutions of white minority rule. If they had continued as a broad-based mass movement, fighting against apartheid by different methods, there would not have been a physical campaign against Inkatha in terms of our campaign to wipe out puppets and stooges

[It is true that] there was violence from the UDF side. There was violence on our part against the state and its collaborators/agents. We did not say that the strategy should be war against Inkatha, however, and this despite the deterioration in our relations.

Inkatha was perturbed by our emergence and the fact that we had an armed wing active inside the country. Inkatha saw the need for their own armed wing-for the KZP and for training. Their response was not to our violence, but to our increasing presence. They always saw Natal as their place. They presumed that we would fight them. When we grew, they started the violence, to dirty us through the use of violence.

A senior official of the northern branch of the ANC in Natal also largely discounted the IFP theory. He acknowledged that intimidation did accompany mass action (a key part of the strategy of 'ungovernability') but denied that this had generated a violent backlash:

Ungovernability was directed against the South African government, and not Inkatha. But Inkatha was seen as an integral part of the South African government and so it was drawn in.

As regards Inkatha's view that mass action bred intimidation and a resultant backlash, I don't know if it is true. The allegation of intimidation enforcing stayaways, that is true. But the backlash, I doubt it. You would have expected that conflict would have occurred at the time. Even members of Inkatha stayed away, however. If they had gone to work and conflict had occurred, I would understand. But they also stayed away. There is a contradiction. If they had been assaulted and had fought back, it would be reasonable. But this never occurred. Maybe they were too intimidated to do that.

It is also true that there were physical attacks on councillors. Some died and some lost businesses, but this did not occur so much in this region. (We did not have BLAs in this region, because we were under KwaZulu. We were administered by the department of the interior, and the only administrator was the township manager, acting on the advice of township councils.) Councillors might have been threatened, but not attacked on that basis. Rather they would have been attacked for being members of Inkatha.

As regards alleged attacks on tribal authorities, I do not know of a single incident where a chief was attacked, nor of a single chief who lost his life. This might have happened in other regions. But there was only one incident in this area, and that was when the IFP killed a supporter of the ANC-Chief Maphumulo (the brother of the present chief in the Ximba tribal authority). In our area, there was no attack on the homestead of a chief. I cannot say the same regarding headmen. But if such a man were killed, it would not have been because he was a headman.

We did not object to traditional institutions. We objected because they identified with Inkatha and operated as warlords. If they acted as warlords and operated as assassins, then the people would hit back.

A senior official on the ANC's national executive committee also rejected the IFP theory, stating that violence stemmed not from the strategy of ungovernability but from the coercion used by the state in enforcing apartheid policies:

The government was not only intolerant and violent, but it also forced its policies on the people. Take the police. They enforced apartheid laws and waged war against the people. There were many casualties resulting from police violence. The BLAs were imposed by force against the people. They also operated violently. All structures-including the homelands and the chiefs-were part of the state machinery to enforce their policies. That left us with two choices-submit and surrender, or fight back.

It is not correct that there was a backlash because of the strategy of ungovernability. That is wrong. The fact was that there was a backlash from the people against the forced brutality of the state. Against the violent institutions of the state, they had to be violent as well. To get rid of the load put upon them

It was the state that was violent at every level-including the soldiers brought in to suppress brutally whoever was raising his load. We could not end up with meek South Africans with apartheid machinery crushing them to death. As regards alleged intimidation accompanying mass action, the intimidation came from the regime-first and foremost. The intimidation from the oppressed was part of the struggle. What else could you do when faced by police trying to protect the BLAs who were there to enforce the law by force? When the people reacted and said they did not want the councils, it was said to be intimidation. The intimidation must be seen as having emanated from the state. They wanted to govern by force. We said then let them not govern. Let apartheid be made unworkable The only alternative was to submit and surrender.

Comments by Other Commentators

A senior police officer then seconded to the Goldstone commission-while not endorsing the IFP's theory in all aspects-confirmed the importance of ungovernability as a factor contributing to violence:

I first became involved in the investigation of political violence in 1985. My perception of the violence at that time was that the UDF was a legalised front for the ANC and that their aim was to destabilise and to make the country ungovernable

We were also quite correct in saying that was the UDF's professed purpose at that time. The ungovernability strategy was directed against any government institution or anything perceived to be such an institution. For example, it was targeted against township managers' offices, vehicles perceived to have some connection with the government, vehicles and people belonging to the KwaZulu government. Black policemen were particular targets for attack, mainly in the SAP. (The KZP was just forming, and in 198588, some of the townships started going over to their jurisdiction.)

I certainly felt very strongly that the perpetrators of the violence were the so-called 'comrades'. I also believed that UDF-affiliated organisations were instrumental in stirring up feelings among the youth and others, towards the goal of making the country ungovernable. From 198586, things really got bad in the townships around Durban. Then the state of emergency was brought in on 16 June 1986.

With the arrival of emergency rule, the security forces managed to bring the townships under control. There were widespread arrests and detentions. Many of those detained were 'children'. The majority of them were young people. They were very politicised. Mostly they were affiliated to the UDF and were attending political workshops.

A senior academic in Natal has questioned the IFP theory, stating that it is as much an over-simplification as the ANC's perspective on the violence:

Inkatha's view is the opposite [from that of the ANC]. It states that ungovernability led to it being targeted, rather than the state. Inkatha has its own history of the violence. It has the mirror image argument, which is also flawed and unconvincing.

For example, Inkatha also presents itself as the passive victim and the ANC as the active aggressor. It does not acknowledge the very real linkages it had with the state. It was not a puppet but it was deeply embedded in the state. There was economic dependency, a lot of institutional linkages. KwaZulu received funds from the military. The linkage between KwaZulu and Inkatha was a problem. There was a fusion of party political and state structures. This led to abuse of state power. It reinforced the racial structures of society and practices that were associated with apartheid and its policies.

KwaZulu was part of the South African state and a creature of the apartheid system. It was also more than that. There was a history of the Zulu nation. Its origins did lie outside the apartheid state. But it was drawn into it and remoulded.

A key question is why Inkatha lost the township and youth support. Their actions antagonised thousands, because they wanted to incorporate urban areas. People did not want to be incorporated into the bantustan. When Buthelezi and KwaZulu tried to force incorporation, it deeply antagonised people. They had a power base and then lost it in these areas. That kind of aggressive behaviour and attempt to take townships out of South Africa was one of the key aspects in the violence. People fought against it and mobilised against it.

Just as Inkatha could not be seen as a puppet structure, so the ANC was also not a gang of conspirators that manipulated everyone. It interacted with genuine grassroots organisations responding to deeply felt concerns and grievances. A parallel critique can thus be made of the Inkatha theory.

Relevant Reports of the Goldstone Commission

The Goldstone commission was established in terms of legislation enacted in 1991 and became an important part of the various mechanisms established by the National Peace Accord. It operated for three years, in the course of which it produced some 47 reports, usually following public inquiries. Many of these reports dealt with incidents of political violence outside KwaZulu/Natal, and hence have been omitted from this chapter. Those which dealt specifically with violence in the province are outlined briefly below.

First Reports on Bruntville

The first report of the Goldstone commission relevant to violence in KwaZulu/Natal was an interim report on violence in Bruntville, outside Mooi River (Natal Midlands). The commission appointed a committee to investigate the killing, by IFP supporters, of some 19 residents of the township in December 1991. The deaths resulted from two attacks on township residents-the first at about 6pm on 3 December and the second about 4,30am the following morning. An IFP supporter, Mr Mbuyiselwa Johannes Mbatha, was shot dead on the day of the first attack. Some four hundred men-armed with assegais, sticks and knobkerries-participated in the first attack, and a much larger group (numbering between 400 and 1 000 men), similarly armed, took part in the second. After the second attack the police arrested 172 IFP supporters and confiscated their weapons en masse.

The commission noted that the IFP had been accused of at least 60 separate attacks upon township residents, while the ANC was accused of 59 attacks against supporters of the IFP. The commission declined to investigate these incidents further. It said it 'was left in little doubt that since the end of 1990 there had been many incidents of violence initiated by supporters of both groups. There was also no doubt that the events of 3 and 4 December 1991 were an aggravated form of the violence which preceded them'.

The commission criticised police conduct in a number of respects. It condemned 'the practice of forcefully raiding houses without search warrants in the middle of the night' and of using a forfeited vehicle with false number plates for searches and patrols, saying that strong-arm tactics 'generated hostility towards the police and fed the grievance that black people were treated as second class citizens'. It also criticised the police for failing to establish a link between each of the 172 men arrested and the particular weapon he had carried-evidence which would be essential for successful prosecution. It further reprimanded the police for having failed to stop the carrying of traditional weapons by IFP supporters, but noted that the police were confused as to their legal duty in this regard. It expressed disquiet at 'evidence adjudged to be reliable that strongly suggested a bias on the part of the SAP in favour of the IFP'. This perception was prevalent among township residents, and 'seemed to be strengthened' by the viewpoint of the SAP (expressed by the police captain in command in the township) that 'residents of Bruntville were the instigators of the attacks and those of Inkatha were in retaliation'.

The committee said that it had examined the role of the security forces at some length so that 'action could be taken to improve their efficiency'. It continued: 'The committee in no way suggests that the security forces are to blame for the violence at Mooi River. The blame for that falls squarely on those who participated in attack and counter-attack, irrespective of which party they support.'

The commission, in endorsing the committee's report, added that 'the evidence led before the committee did not establish any prima facie unlawful conduct on the part of any police officer', except as regards the use of the forfeited vehicle with false number plates.

In a further report to the commission, the committee examined ANC allegations that IFP supporters had been 'brought in from outside to participate in the second attack on the township'. The committee found that almost all the men arrested were hostel dwellers employed at Mooi River Textiles, and concluded that 'IFP supporters were not transported into Bruntville from elsewhere to participate in the fighting on 4 December 1991'.

Second Interim Report

In presenting its second interim report on violence in April 1992, the commission explained that 'from the inception of its deliberations, it had held the view that one of its most important functions was to act as a catalyst in the process of transforming the police force into a body that had the confidence, respect and co-operation of the vast majority of the people of South Africa'.

It said it had found no evidence that a 'third force'-defined as a 'sinister and secret organisation that commits acts of violence in furtherance of some nefarious political aim'-was orchestrating conflict. It identified the causes of violence as 'many and varied' and said these included the inequality engendered by apartheid, the unexpected legalising of political organisations, a climate of political intolerance, and a police force that was 'inadequately manned and inadequately motivated'. It noted, in addition, that the lifting of the ban on the ANC had taken place 'against a background of a lawful and government-supported Inkatha Freedom Party having been at war with a largely underground ANC and its front organisations'. In addition, 'the presence of single-sex hostels and/or squatter settlements in a large number of centres had enabled political groups to set up concentrations of support and arms caches for use in township violence'.

Elaborating on the role of the security forces, the commission said that 'the police and army, for many decades, had been the instruments of oppression by successive white governments' in maintaining a society 'predicated upon racial discrimination'. This meant that many South Africans did not perceive the police and army 'as fair, objective or friendly institutions'. 'A history over some years of state complicity in undercover activities, which included criminal conduct', had fuelled this perception, as did 'the well-documented criminal conduct of individual members of the SAP and KZP'.

The commission also said 'it had no doubt at all that both ANC and IFP members and supporters had been guilty of many incidents that had resulted in death or injury to large numbers of people'. Each organisation had also been over-hasty in blaming the other, and tardy in disciplining its own members. The commission noted with great concern 'the widely held view by a large number of people in KwaZulu and neighbouring areas that the KZP were a private army of the IFP', and said that 'recent activities by members of Umkhonto we Sizwe were [also] a matter for concern'.

The commission recommended that 'all hostels should immediately be adequately and securely fenced', while police should ensure that 'no arms were taken in or out of hostels' and also that hostel residents were 'protected from external attack'. It stressed that 'the carrying of dangerous weapons in public should be outlawed' at all times and said that, in Natal, 'it was predominantly members of the IFP who insisted on this unacceptable practice'. This practice, it said, constituted 'provocative and unacceptable behaviour in any decent society and was calculated, furthermore, to create a climate of violence'.

Report on Renamo Soldiers in KwaZulu

In mid-December 1992 the commission presented a further report, dealing with allegations regarding the presence of Resistençia Naçionale Moçambicana (Renamo) soldiers (from Mozambique) in KwaZulu. The ANC had alleged, at the end of September, that Renamo soldiers were training hit squads within the KZP. A team headed by Major Frank Dutton (the investigating officer in the Trust Feed case) was mandated to investigate on behalf of the commission. The investigation revealed that, in August, 'approximately ten armed men were seen at a bar at Nseleni' (on the north coast), and that 'they were black and spoke Portuguese'. The investigating team was satisfied that this was the 'sole origin' of the rumour regarding Renamo soldiers and that 'no trace could be found of any Renamo or any other foreign troops or men under arms anywhere in KwaZulu'. The commission concluded that there was no evidence to justify allegations of a Renamo connection with the KZP, and promised to investigate further if any additional evidence was found.

Third Interim Report

In its third interim report, presented later in December 1992, the commission said that the role of the South African Defence Force (SADF) in violence remained to be determined, but that 'a primary trigger' for conflict was 'the rivalry between, and the fight for territory and the control thereof, by the IFP and the ANC'. In addition, each organisation remained too hasty in blaming the other and too lax in disciplining its members. It noted that both organisations complained of areas being made 'no-go' for the other, and said that free political activity would be essential to an acceptable election or referendum. It stressed that adequate notice should be given in good time of all public political activity, and suggested that such notice be given to the local magistrate, who could then consult with the appropriate local or tribal authority. It added that all parties should undertake to give 'due recognition to the role of the tribal chiefs (amakhosi) and pay due respect to them'.

Noting the lack of community co-operation with the SAP and KZP, the commission said that 'international police observers could be of substantial assistance to both the SAP and KZP'. Their presence would make it easier for the public to approach the police, for it would 'lessen the fears of many that they would not receive fair and serious attention and adequate response to complaints'. The commission also noted widespread concern that bail was being granted too easily, and called for the withdrawal of G-3 rifles-issued earlier by the KwaZulu administration to tribal authorities-to be expedited.

The commission stated that some 22 submissions had been presented to it in the course of its preliminary hearing into violence in KwaZulu/Natal, held in Durban from 30 November 1992 to 4 December 1992, and again on 14 December 1992. It took express note of only one of these-a submission by the National Co-ordinating Committee for the Return of South African Exiles-which alleged harassment of returned political exiles by members of the SAP and KZP. The commission said its Natal Investigation Unit would probe this further.

The commission refused to inquire into specific incidents of violence, saying that this would be impracticable. Such inquiry would also, in its view, 'not add significantly to the commission's understanding of the causes of public violence and intimidation in the area'. It was not the commission's function, it added, to investigate incidents where the cause-the political rivalry between the ANC and IFP-was known. The commission decided, however, to establish a committee, under the chairmanship of Advocate M Wallis, to 'ascertain whether there were any incidents of violence other than political rivalry between the IFP and ANC'.

The commission called on political leaders from both the ANC and IFP to stop attacking each other verbally in a manner contrary to the National Peace Accord. It also called for a halt to 'inflammatory and confrontational political attacks on authorities that were at present constituted'. At the same time, it further recommended that 'there should be a suspension of any further transfers of land or police stations to the KwaZulu government' as further transfers of this kind would 'seriously aggravate the violence'.

The commission added that 'complaints had been made that in certain areas of Kwa-Zulu, affiliation to the IFP was regarded as a precondition for public rights or privileges, such as attendance at a government school'. The commission said it had not investigated these, and 'passed no judgement in respect of them'. It continued: 'However, whether justified or not, a clear statement of policy by the KwaZulu government and the IFP on these topics would assist in putting an end to the perception if not the fact of discrimination.'

The commission concluded that 'if agreement could be reached between the appropriate parties on these matters, tensions and the ensuing violence could be materially reduced'.

Final Report on Bruntville

Towards the end of December, the commission presented its final report on violence at Mooi River, dealing with conflict in the period from 21 January 1991 to 21 July 1992. The commission again found that the 'immediate or proximate cause of the violence was reasonably clear', and stemmed from 'a cycle of attack and counter-attack between two groups, the ANC, which dominates Bruntville township, and the IFP, which dominates the hostel'. The commission was satisfied, on the evidence before it, that there was no 'systematic involvement of outside groups in the perpetration of the violence'.

The conflict between the ANC and IFP was rooted, the commission said, in 'a wider social, economic, spatial and political context'. This included increasing polarisation between township dwellers and hostel residents, reflected in the fact that IFP supporters 'had been driven out of the township and were now living in the hostel'. The hostel residents had become increasingly isolated, and 'their custom was not even accepted in township shops any more'. Conversely, township houses near the hostel were deserted, their inhabitants having been driven out by hostel residents. Within the township, the ANC Youth League was particularly powerful as it 'dominated the street committees that exercised close control over their immediate localities'. Taunting by ANC youths of older and less educated IFP supporters evoked particular hostility among the latter.

Polarisation between the two was also exacerbated by competition for the limited number of jobs available in the town. The Mooitex textile mill, the major employer in the area, had a workforce composed mainly of hostel residents and this was a source of grievance and frustration for township residents. The hostel residents, in turn, felt threatened by ANC demands for the closure of the hostel, which would inevitably-in the absence of alternative accommodation-cost them their jobs.

The commission noted with concern that many of its earlier recommendations had not been implemented-particularly its call for the establishment of a local dispute resolution committee (under the auspices of the National Peace Accord). The IFP had withdrawn from this process because of the demands made by the ANC as well as the latter's threatened disruption of an IFP meeting called to discuss the issues. The commission criticised the manner in which the police had investigated the killings of 3 and 4 December 1991 (the focus of the commission's initial inquiry). It noted with concern that charges against the 172 men earlier arrested had been withdrawn, and the weapons confiscated returned to their owners. This, it said, 'could only reinforce the suspicion that the police were biased'. Perceptions of bias continued and-whether justified or not-were 'real in their consequences'. 'A significant sector of the community genuinely distrusted the police and was reluctant to work with them. They also treated the police with contempt. The police, in turn, found it hard to work with the sector of the community that treated them in this way and tended to work more closely with the IFP hostel dwellers, who treated them with greater respect. This association reinforced the cycle of distrust on the part of the township inhabitants.'

The carrying of traditional weapons remained unresolved, the police testifying that this was partly because those complaining of the practice were reluctant to press charges 'where the potential accused might be able to prove that they were carrying the weapons in self-defence'. Spears and sticks were thus being carried openly again. (The IFP offered in September to lay down their spears as long as members of the ANC kept the peace, and this, when the commission finished its work, seemed to have resulted in a significant reduction in violence for a period.) The commission said 'any local solution would have to deal with weapons of all types', and that a perception that police were acting vigorously and impartially to stop the carrying of weapons of all kinds would help to solve the problem.

The commission recommended that an outside mediator be appointed to facilitate the peace process, obtain a commitment to peaceful co-existence from both sides, and help resuscitate the creation of a local dispute resolution committee. Urgent attention should also be given to social and economic problems in the area, and 'outside observers from the United Nations or other similar agencies could also be invited to play a role'. The commission recommended that the IFP's gesture in laying down spears should 'be reinforced if possible by a similar move towards the reduction of concealed weapons'. The hostel should be fenced as a matter of priority, to 'give a sense of security to neighbours on both sides', and this should be combined with upgrading of the hostel 'so that the emphasis was on positively improving conditions rather than merely concentrating on security concerns'. The police should endeavour to improve their relations with the wider community, and should also keep it informed of progress in investigations. 'Respect for the forces of law and order depended on a perception that a professional police force was doing everything possible to bring offenders to trial and ensure that justice was done.'

Report on the Training of IFP Supporters in the Caprivi in 1986

In June 1993 the commission presented a report on the training of IFP supporters in the Caprivi (South West Africa, now Namibia) in 1986. This inquiry arose inter alia from reports in The Weekly Mail in January 1992 regarding SADF involvement in violence. These reports alleged, among other things, that the SADF was funding a number of front organisations, the purpose of which was to sponsor violence in black townships. These particular allegations were found to be unsubstantiated. The commission found it necessary, however, to investigate further the 'whereabouts and relevant activities of some 200 persons allegedly trained at a base named "Hippo" in the Caprivi Strip in 1986, and thereafter at the Mkuze Camp in KwaZulu'.

It was undisputed, said the commission, that during 1986 some 200 young Inkatha supporters had been recruited in KwaZulu for training by the SADF at the Caprivi in what was then South West Africa. They were recruited by Mr M Z Khumalo, then personal assistant to Chief Buthelezi. Mr Khumalo said the training was necessary because the ANC regarded Inkatha and Chief Buthelezi as its enemies, and as 'stooges' of the South African government. The UDF was canvassing members actively in Natal and was conducting a campaign of violence. In addition, 'there was reliable intelligence that ANC hit squads were being brought to the ready to infiltrate into KwaZulu to assassinate the chief minister [Chief Buthelezi] and other ministers of the KwaZulu government and to destroy government buildings and installations in KwaZulu'. The KZP was unable to counter this threat because its men were too few and insufficiently trained. For all these reasons, the KwaZulu authorities approached the SADF to ask for training, which had to be extensive and 'cover all aspects of defence against terrorist attacks'.

The training was arranged by the intelligence department of the SADF, and costs were paid out of the secret account of the defence budget. Training encompassed weapons training, defensive training, VIP protection, prevention and counter-mobilisation. VIP training included the handling of firearms, other weapons and explosive devices which might be used by attackers threatening the lives of VIPs. One of the trainees testified that training had included the use of various firearms (including AK-47 and G-3 rifles), the firing of RPG-7 rocket launchers, and techniques of urban and guerrilla warfare (including methods of attacking buildings with hand grenades and smoke grenades). It also encompassed interrogation of suspects, methods of abduction, and surveillance techniques. This evidence was not contested by the IFP. The trainee who gave this evidence-who 'was anything but well disposed towards the KwaZulu government or IFP'-'denied unequivocally that the purpose of the training was for membership of hit squads'.

The first group of trainees was incorporated into the KZP in 1987. Because of administrative and financial problems the KZP was unable to incorporate most of the trainees before June 1989 and, in the interim, their salaries were paid by the SADF (as they had been during training).

The commission criticised the secrecy which had surrounded the training-reflected in the absence of relevant documentation in both KZP and SADF files. It said that 'the present whereabouts of the trainees had been satisfactorily dealt with by the KZP', and that most were still employed by the KZP. It found, in addition, that although one of the trainees had acknowledged an involvement in acts of violence, there was no evidence that 'he committed those acts as a direct consequence of his training at the Caprivi'.

The commission added, however, that 'the activities of the trainees after their return from the Caprivi was highly unsatisfactory' and that 'an inference could be drawn that they were not trained solely for VIP protection'. It noted that the Wallis committee (established by the commission to inquire into the activities of some Caprivi trainees) was still busy with investigations.

The commission concluded that the training of 200 Inkatha supporters by the SADF had been 'unfortunate', and had 'added substantially to the suspicion and perceptions of political bias on the part of the KZP and SADF'. It also criticised the SADF's tardiness in disclosing details of the training, which had added to suspicion and negative perceptions. In addition, secrecy surrounding the training had 'led to inefficiency and a lack of control'. The commission accused the SADF of an error in judgement in providing the training without 'any regard to the subsequent control and deployment' of the trainees.

The commission concluded that 'there was no evidence at all to suggest that the SADF provided the training for the purpose of "hit squads" being established'. However, 'the nature of the training, the secrecy of the project, the lack of candour when the truth began to emerge and the connection of trainees with acts of public violence, all continued to fuel the perception that the SADF was assisting the KwaZulu government and IFP leaders to build a private hit squad facility for use against the UDF and later the ANC'. In addition 'the conduct of illegal activities by some elements in Military Intelligence which emerged at the end of 1992 gave yet further credence to these perceptions'.

The commission stated further that, 'although certain Caprivi trainees might be involved in some current acts of violence-those committed since July 1991-there was no evidence to suggest that such involvement was a direct result of the training they received at the Caprivi'.

Report on Illegal Importation, Distribution and Use of Firearms

In October 1993 the commission reported on the illegal importation, distribution and use of firearms, ammunition and explosives. The committee responsible for the investigation, chaired by Mr M N S Sithole, said it had been faced 'with the anomalous situation that the ANC, while publicly acknowledging that it was in illegal possession of weaponry of all kinds in hidden caches, demanded that the security forces and others in lawful possession of weaponry should give an account of themselves while it declined to do so'. In this regard, the ANC had argued that 'its admittedly unlawful possession of its undisclosed weaponry was a political issue beyond the ambit of the commission's field of inquiry' and was also the subject of bilateral negotiations between the ANC and the government in terms of the D F Malan Accord. The ANC had also contended that-in the interests of transparency-it was entitled to 'an inventory of the weaponry legally in the possession of the SAP, the SADF, the KwaZulu government and IFP'. For this purpose, the ANC had argued that the committee's terms of reference should extend to the 'possession' of weapons, as well as their importation, distribution and use. The committee ruled, however, that it was unable to extend its terms of reference in this manner.

The committee-in a report endorsed by the commission-recommended that, in general, no change should be made to the terms of the Arms and Ammunition Act of 1969, but that sections not yet brought into effect should be made operative without delay, and appropriate regulations framed. The act should, however, be amended to oblige any person in possession of a firearm to carry a licence for the weapon at all times, and to enable the police to seize and retain any gun until the relevant licence had been produced. The commission noted the difficulties encountered by the police in searching large and heavily laden vehicles, especially where the load included loosely packed products (such as fruit and vegetables) which would take considerable time and effort to unload. It recommended that the SAP and SADF ascertain what sophisticated technology (such as radar, infrared devices, and lasers) might be available to facilitate detection. It recommended further that the need expressed by the SAP and SADF for increased manpower and other resources to curb arms smuggling be addressed. Turning to the question whether penalties in relation to firearms should be increased, the commission noted that 'attacks involving AK-47 automatic rifles against different categories of targets had escalated most alarmingly, particularly in 1991 and 1992'. It nevertheless supported the ANC in its view that a mandatory five-year prison sentence in relation to illegal firearms should not be introduced (as any mandatory punishment would remove a necessary judicial discretion in determining an appropriate penalty). It made no finding on whether penalties should be increased, or security forces given greater powers of interrogation. It further recommended that the SAP continue present practices of offering rewards for the recovery of illegal firearms, and that all such weapons should be destroyed once no longer required in evidence.

Fourth Interim Report

In early December 1993 the commission presented its fourth interim report on violence, focused on measures necessary to curb public violence and intimidation in the period up to and immediately after the election scheduled for 27 April 1994. In doing so, it highlighted the fact that 'credible evidence' had come to its knowledge 'of a hit squad which at the time of its activities consisted of members of the KZP'.

This evidence had emerged following a request by the commissioner of the KZP, Lieutenant General Roy During, to the SAP to investigate certain allegations. 'From the police investigation it emerged that the persons suspected of operating in the hit squad had received training from the SADF in the Caprivi in 1986.' The investigation was still in progress, but three people had been arrested-all, until recently, members of the KZP. 'The evidence establishes,' the commission stated, 'a high probability that a hit squad consisting of five KZP policemen has been responsible during 1992 and 1993 for the murder of no less than nine people including leaders and members of the ANC.'

The commission added that further arrests were anticipated. It explained that it had thought it in the public interest to disclose these developments in the interim, because of the 'seriousness of a hit squad operating within a police force' and 'the implications in relation to the election'. Further information could not be made public, however, without prejudicing the investigation. The commission said it hoped the disclosure would be 'a spur to adequate steps being taken by all interested parties and organisations to prevent further deaths and injuries'.

Report on Criminal Political Violence within the SAP, KZP and IFP

This report had three sections, each of which merits separate description. The main report dealt with gun-running and other violent activities involving the SAP and IFP. Another (the second report of the Wallis committee) dealt with hit squads in the KZP as well as the commission's own views on this. The third (the first report of the Wallis committee) dealt with the latter's inquiry into whether there were other causes of political violence, apart from rivalry between the ANC and IFP.

The Main Report

On 18 March 1994 the commission presented an interim report on 'criminal political violence by elements within the SAP, the KZP and the IFP'. The inquiry was initiated when an unnamed police officer, identified only as Q, told the commission that 'Unit C1 at Vlakplaas (later Unit C10), under the command of Colonel Eugene de Kock, was involved from 1989 in violence aimed at the destabilisation of South Africa'. According to Q, the unit was involved inter alia 'in the organisation of train violence and hostel violence. The operations were under the command of Lieutenant General Basie Smit, deputy commissioner of the SAP, and Major General Krappies Engelbrecht, head of the department of counter-intelligence of the SAP. Lieutenant General Johan le Roux had full knowledge of, and was involved in, these activities'.

Until about September 1992 the group was 'involved in the manufacture of home-made guns at premises on the east Rand and in Silverton [Pretoria]. The arms were delivered to three [sic] senior members of the IFP, viz Messrs Themba Khoza and Victor Ndlovu'. When the Vlakplaas unit was disbanded in the aftermath of the exposé of the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB), the members of C-10 were transferred to other units of the SAP. They still, however, operated in hit squads and were given false passports for this purpose.

In a written memorandum, Q subsequently told the commission that the project which led to the manufacture of guns was initiated by Generals Smit and Engelbrecht with the support of Messrs Khoza and Ndlovu 'for the purpose of orchestrating violence. This also involved crash-course training to IFP members in the use of weapons and hand grenades'. Those involved were Col de Kock and 14 others (eight from C-10, two from the East Rand Murder and Robbery Squad, three from the security branch in Durban and a former commissioner of the KZP, General Jac Buchner.) Weapons from Koevoet in Namibia were transported to Vlakplaas and later to Murrayhill. The weapons were cleaned in acid and their serial numbers removed. 'They were placed in black bags and distributed to the IFP.' Later weapons were also received from Mozambique and were handled in the same way. Col de Kock was paid by the IFP for the weapons, and continued with the project even after he had left the SAP (in April 1993) with a package worth some R1,2m. A member of the east Rand security branch organised the train violence in co-operation with Col de Kock, making use of members of C-10, black policemen and 'askaris'. One example of a hit-squad activity was a 'murder perpetrated by a group led by de Kock near Nelspruit [Mpumalanga] in March 1992 in which four ANC members and one IFP member travelling in a Hi-Ace minibus were shot and killed'.

Later, five former members of Vlakplaas gave further evidence to the commission. One, Major Chappies Klopper, has since been identified as 'Q'. Of the remaining four, three had earlier been named by Q as implicated in the hit-squad activities he had described.

The five stated that a large quantity of weapons from Koevoet had been transported to Vlakplaas in the late 1980s. 'They included AK-47s, mortars, RPG-7s, hand grenades' and other weapons. 'They were stored under the control of De Kock' and 'a substantial quantity of these weapons, including AK-47s, were supplied to Inkatha'. In 1991, on the instructions of Gen Engelbrecht, the arms were removed from Vlakplaas and stored elsewhere, but remained under the control of Col de Kock.

Mr Khoza was given a motor car and both he and Mr Ndlovu were paid informants of Col de Kock. 'Firearms were delivered to Messrs Khoza and Ndlovu for their activities against the ANC.' 'Units from Vlakplaas,' they said, 'also conducted hit squad operations,' including murders. Gen Engelbrecht was involved throughout, approving payments out of secret funds and obtaining 'portions of the payments dishonestly received for arms'. The only evidence directly implicating Gen le Roux was 'an incident when he was a colonel in Krugersdorp [west Rand] and became aware of the murder by Vlakplaas members of a certain Maponya'. One witness said that 'De Kock informed him at the time that he had received a message from Le Roux for Maponya to be killed'. In addition, arms were manufactured at Mechem (a subsidiary of an arms manufacturing company, called Denel, in turn an off-shoot from the parastatal, Armscor) and distributed to Messrs Khoza and Ndlovu.

The commission said it had decided to report these allegations, prior to further investigation, because of the urgent need to bring the information to public attention prior to the election at the end of April. 'If those intent on destabilisation succeed in aborting the election,' the commission said, 'an investigation afterwards would be a futile exercise.' The commission added that evidence had been found to corroborate the allegations. It stated that the persons accused 'had not been found guilty' and that 'the evidence, much of it strong, remained prima facie until proven by normal judicial processes'. It urged the government and the TEC 'to take all possible steps to neutralise elements in the SAP or KZP which might be likely to cause or encourage criminal acts of violence and intimidation' before and after the election. It added that 'it would be unfair and dangerous to tar the whole police force with the brush of Vlakplaas', and recommended that 'other members of the SAP should be encouraged to come forward and expose what had been happening'. This, it said, should be done by granting indemnity to those who wished to testify but were themselves guilty of criminal conduct. In conclusion, the commission stated that it had no other evidence of 'current or recent third force activities'.

(Soon after the publication of the report, Judge Goldstone acknowledged that an error in the report-which had been pointed out to him before the report was made public-had not been corrected. Judge Goldstone said this was because of the time pressure to complete the final report. While the published report stated that Col de Kock had approached the ANC for indemnity, the correct version was that he had approached the ANC to ask for clarification of certain allegations against him.)

Report on Hit Squads in the KZP

The commission's report also focused at some length on alleged hit-squad activities within the KZP. At the end of November 1993, Judge Goldstone had met the state president and other ministers 'to brief them on the evidence which the commission had concerning at least one hit squad operating in the KZP'. (This, presumably, concerned the hit squad revealed in the commission's fourth interim report, published in early December 1993.) Brigadier E du Preez of the SAP had been appointed to investigate whether there were any other hit squads within the KZP, but little progress had been made. The two police officers conducting the investigation had been called to Johannesburg to report to Judge Goldstone. One, a Captain Scholtz, had said he 'had approximately 100 dockets relevant to the KZP hit squad investigation', which called for further and immediate attention. He had been told, however, by Brig du Preez that they were to focus on one investigation only. Capt Scholtz had told Judge Goldstone that 'there was convincing evidence that elements in the KZP had been and were still involved in hit squad activities in Natal and also in the Transvaal. Caprivi trainees were involved and many of them were being kept together in two KZP camps'. In addition, Capt Scholtz had said, 'there was evidence in some of the dockets indicating the involvement of members of SAP security police in hit squad activities'.

Commenting further, the commission pointed out that the KZP had, for some years, 'been the subject of criticism and attack not only from the ANC but also from South African and international human rights organisations, academics and members of the public'. It said that, in addition to the hit squad it had revealed early in December 1993, there was evidence 'of the involvement of former Caprivi trainees in an increasing number of cases of criminal conduct'. Moreover, the KZP had chosen to retain Major General Mathe in high office, as deputy commissioner of the KZP, 'even though Gen Mathe's name had regularly and over years been linked with improper conduct in the course of his official duties'. In addition, 'the commission was satisfied that the KZP was dragging its feet (probably a generous description) in investigating the presence of other hit squads within its ranks'. Further, there was 'prima facie evidence that the Nqutu [northern Natal] massacre [of ANC supporters on 7 November 1993] had not been investigated with any diligence' by the KZP. On the contrary, the investigation by the force had been 'hopelessly inefficient', while two of those involved had 'knowingly misinformed' Gen During on an important issue. (They had told Gen During that a Lieutenant Mbatha-who had broken the story of the IFP and KZP role in the massacre to a London newspaper The Observer-had not been involved in the investigation.)

Appended to the commission's report was the second interim report of the Wallis committee, which had been mandated to investigate six instances of alleged misconduct on the part of the KZP. The first concerned a Constable Ngubane, a member of the KZP, who had previously been trained in the Caprivi. Const Ngubane was found in possession of an AK-47 rifle, which was ballistically linked to the attempted murder of a prominent ANC member in the area. Const Ngubane claimed the weapon had been left with him by three other men, all of whom worked for the IFP, and two of whom were also Caprivi trainees. The investigation into the matter took almost two years, and Const Ngubane was thereafter charged in terms of the Arms and Ammunition Act of 1969. He was convicted and sentenced to a lengthy term of imprisonment.

The committee also investigated allegations that the KZP had failed, following murders committed at KwaMakhutha (Natal south coast) in March 1990, to re-arrest two suspects who had absconded and whose whereabouts were known to the KZP. The committee found no evidence on this issue. It discovered, however, that two KZP policemen had been arrested after the murders. One was in possession of a pistol and another, Constable Cyril Ngema, was in possession of a HMK machine gun. Const Ngema estreated his bail, and an officer of the SAP endeavoured to find him but was told he had left the KZP and could not be found. Some two years later, however, it was acknowledged that Const Ngema was still working for the KZP and he was arrested while on duty at Pongola (KwaZulu/Natal/Transvaal border). (Three other KZP members were also arrested, as well as a civilian, and two of these four were Caprivi trainees.)

The committee was also asked to investigate the lack of progress in a case in which uniformed members of the KZP were alleged to have shot and killed a resident of KwaMashu (near Durban), a Mr Mtolo. The shot was fired by Sergeant Mbatha of the KZP, who had himself since died. Though little evidence was placed before the committee on this issue, it was clear that the investigation had been incomplete. A relevant witness had not been traced, and the fact that the shot had been fired by Sgt Mbatha had not been recorded.

The fourth issue the committee was asked to investigate concerned the death of Mr Thulani Cele in Umlazi (near Durban) in 1990. An inquest magistrate had found that KZP policemen had falsified their version of events and had recommended that they, together with a senior officer, be charged with murder and defeating the ends of justice. The committee found it difficult to investigate this matter further, as the policemen in question had already been charged, and it did not wish to interfere with the prosecution then in progress. The committee commented, however, that Mr Cele had been shot twice by Constable Maphanga of the KZP, apparently as he was trying to escape from custody. Various members of the force had given conflicting and contradictory accounts of the incident, however. In addition, there had been a significant delay in taking Mr Cele to hospital, and this might have prejudiced his chances of recovery. The policemen, moreover, had attempted to cover up their involvement by falsifying police records.

The committee was also asked to investigate the conduct of the KZP, on 11 November 1992, in relation to one Professor Sibankulu. Members of the KZP stationed at Madadeni (northern KwaZulu/Natal) had been sent to arrest Professor Sibankulu following reports that he was in possession of a firearm. As Professor Sibankulu drove towards the police station, with a KZP police vehicle behind him, shots were fired at his car from behind. The station commander at first told the committee that he had neither seen nor heard such shots, nor been told of them by Professor Sibankulu. When confronted with his contradictory statement, made at the time, he admitted that Professor Sibankulu had told him that he had been fired at by policemen. He had taken no steps, however, to investigate this further. (Professor Sibankulu was murdered later that night, but an SAP investigation showed no link between the shooting incident and the finding of his body the next morning.)

The sixth and final allegation investigated by the committee was the conduct of the KZP in the investigation into the murder of an ANC leader, Mr Reggie Hadebe, who had been killed in late October 1992. The investigation was being conducted by the SAP, who had requested help from the KZP, but with very little result.

The committee commented that five of the six incidents it had probed involved members of the KZP and pointed to their complicity in illegal conduct of a very serious nature. Four of the incidents had required investigation by the KZP and, in each case, this had been 'characterised by neglect, delay, disregard of elementary procedures and a failure to bring offenders to book'. It was deplorable that a wanted criminal who had estreated his bail should have been able to spend two years working as a policeman in the KZP, while investigators were told he was no longer with the force.

The committee said the image of the KZP was tarnished by such incidents, which would necessarily 'hamper it in undertaking its duties in preventing public violence and intimidation and bringing the perpetrators thereof to book'. It would also result 'in charges of bias being levelled' at the KZP and would further erode its capacity to perform its functions in a highly politicised environment. The committee stated that the incidents could not be dismissed as relatively isolated instances, but 'disclosed a deplorable level of incompetence in the KZP'. This, in one of the 'most sensitive areas of the country', required the taking of remedial steps. The committee felt unable to go as far as the ANC had urged, and recommend that the KZP be placed immediately under the SAP. However, it advised that a senior detective officer, accompanied if possible by an international police observer, should be stationed at each of the 40-odd police stations under KZP jurisdiction to oversee the conduct of the force. It said the commission itself should decide on the suspension of Brig Mathe and other officers named in the report. It expressed concern that some of the people named in its investigations had been Caprivi trainees, as had been those referred to by the commission in its fourth interim report. It seemed, thus, that 'former Caprivi trainees had in some cases been guilty of serious criminal conduct related to public violence and intimidation' and in other cases were suspected of this. The evidence available did not, however, 'justify the making of any blanket recommendation in regard to such trainees'.

Report on Other Causes of Political Violence

Also published on 18 March 1994 was the first interim report of the Wallis committee. This report focused on whether 'there were any incidents of violence [in KwaZulu and Natal] other than political rivalry between the IFP and ANC'. The committee called for representations on the issue and obtained these from many quarters. It found that 'central to the allegations made by the various parties was that incidents of violence and intimidation were not followed, as they should in the ordinary course be, by the operation of the normal processes of law, namely, investigation by the police, arrest of the perpetrators and their subsequent prosecution, conviction and sentencing by the courts'. In addition, many allegations had been made that 'the perpetrators of violence either were or included members of the SAP'.

The SAP were thus accused of both active and passive responsibility for violence-active in the sense that some members of the force had themselves perpetrated acts of violence, and passive in the sense that 'the failure to bring perpetrators to book encouraged further violence by withdrawing the restraints which should operate against it'.

The committee found that, in the Port Shepstone area (Natal south coast), the bulk of cases in the past two years were still under investigation and no one had been arrested and charged, even where a suspect had been identified. Where charges had been brought, delays in bringing cases to court and leniency in granting bail had 'tended to convey a perception in the public eye that no steps had been taken by the law'. The commission was satisfied that the situation was the same elsewhere in the region, and that 'in the bulk of all cases, no effective action was being taken against the perpetrators'. It was satisfied that 'this failure or inability was itself a substantial contributory cause to further violence' because it encouraged perpetrators to act with a sense of impunity, and 'lowered the standing of the police in the eyes of the community'.

The committee was faced with the difficulty, however, that it was not logistically feasible to investigate a plethora of incidents. The commission had also made it clear that 'little significant advantage was to be gained by multiplying its inquiries into specific incidents of violence'. The committee was therefore grateful to receive from the SAP a memorandum in which the police acknowledged that some of its members had displayed an anti-ANC bias, attempted to promote support for the IFP, committed acts of violence against supporters of the ANC, refused to entertain complaints by ANC members, and turned a blind eye to violations of the law by members of the IFP. The SAP stated that 'the perpetrators of these acts must be rooted out before credibility and effective policing could be restored'.

The committee welcomed 'this candid approach' and said it agreed entirely that such members must be identified and their partisan activities stopped. The committee asked both the ANC and the IFP to identify certain key cases for investigation and resolution, on the basis that this would reassure the community as to the effectiveness of policing and the judicial system. A special task force would then be established to solve the crimes identified and bring the offenders to book. Members of the commission's Natal Investigation Unit, together with foreign policemen, would be seconded to this team to strengthen its credibility and facilitate obtaining evidence from witnesses.

The ANC and IFP welcomed the proposal, which was also accepted by SAP representatives. Approval from higher tiers within the SAP was, however, necessary for implementation-and this was not forthcoming. This decision was apparently made by the commissioner of police, General Johan van der Merwe, who gave the committee no reasons for his refusal of consent.

The committee-responding to complaints about SAP behaviour in the aftermath of arson attacks on the hostel in Bruntville in January 1993-then went to Mooi River to investigate these. It was satisfied that there was 'a prima facie basis for either criminal proceedings or disciplinary proceedings to be taken against members of the SAP' in Bruntville. The committee thereafter suspended further inquiry while discussions took place between the SAP, the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the Legal Resources Centre in Durban. The result was an agreement to establish 'a carefully selected police investigation unit in the Natal Midlands, which would investigate every case of misconduct laid against any member of the SAP'. This unit would operate in close co-operation with the Natal Investigation Unit of the commission and would report to the police reporting officer in Natal, Mr Neville Melville. Though the unit would confine its activities to the Natal Midlands area, it was envisaged that similar units could be established elsewhere.

The proposals were accepted by the SAP in Natal but the commissioner of police proved unwilling to accede to them. This was because of the existence of the Security Forces Board of Inquiry Act of 1993, providing for the establishment of a board of inquiry to probe cases of serious misconduct by the police. The committee said this decision was 'unfortunate'. The act had not yet been implemented, and in any event provided for investigation of only a limited range of serious offences (such as murder, kidnapping, assault, defeating the ends of justice, or 'any other offence' considered to be 'of a serious nature'). These limited terms of reference would preclude the board from investigating many of the complaints being made against the SAP. 'Certainly, only a few of the matters placed before the committee at its sittings in Mooi River would have fallen within the proposed ambit of authority of the board,' it noted. The board would also not be able to address public violence 'where the persons responsible were not members of the SAP'.

The committee strongly criticised the commissioner's decision. 'The attitude,' it said, 'that affected communities must simply wait until a board is established sometime in 1994 (if they are lucky) which board may, or may not, regard their problems as a priority and which in any event cannot deal with most of them, seems entirely unacceptable.' The effect, it concluded, would be to 'add to the lack of credibility which the SAP had in the community, discourage people from assisting the police, and leave the field open for those who had chosen violence as their path to engage in it with little fear of apprehension'.

Report on the Shell House and Other Shootings in Johannesburg

On 21 April 1994 the commission presented the results of its preliminary inquiry into the shootings which took place in the centre of Johannesburg on 28 March 1994. It made no findings regarding culpability for the shootings (for reasons explained below) but said 'the events of the day were precipitated' by the IFP calling a gathering of many thousands of its supporters to launch its anti-election campaign. (The commission rejected IFP arguments that the gathering was arranged, not by the IFP itself, but on behalf of 'the Zulu people', and said this was a 'belated effort [by the party] to rid itself of responsibility' for what had happened.) The commission noted that shooting incidents had occurred inter alia outside Shell House (the national headquarters of the ANC) and at the Library Gardens (near the ANC's regional offices in Lancet Hall). The commission said it was unfortunate that new legislation regulating gatherings and marches had not yet been brought into force, and recommended that the policing of such demonstrations be investigated urgently.

The ANC and SAP argued that the ANC had not been involved in the shootings at the Library Gardens, which had arisen 'from the SAP shooting in self-defence'. The IFP contended that shots had been fired at their supporters by snipers on the rooftops of buildings overlooking the gardens, and that 'the SAP and ANC did not want that shooting investigated because they were the cause of it'. In relation to the Shell House shootings, the commission noted that the 'versions of events presented were contradictory in material respects', particular as regards whether the shots from the building had been fired in self-defence. It noted that the police were still busy with investigations, and that both the ANC and IFP were likely to have many eyewitnesses wanting to testify. It thus decided that 'it would be premature to establish a committee to hear evidence on the shootings. The terms of reference of such a committee could only meaningfully be determined when the commission knew what witnesses and evidence were available'. For this purpose, the commission requested the SAP, ANC and IFP to submit witness statements, photographs and other relevant information on or before 31 May 1994. It asked that similar evidence regarding the shootings at the Library Gardens be submitted by the same date.

The commission found itself unable to rule on who was responsible for other acts of public violence committed on 28 March. It was satisfied, however, that there was prima facie evidence that Mr Humphrey Ndlovu, the west Rand chairman of the IFP, had contravened the Electoral Act of 1993 by telling IFP supporters that 'the election would not proceed on 26, 27 and 28 April'. It recommended that his conduct be referred to the IEC for investigation.

In a follow-up report, submitted on 27 October 1994, the commission noted that the ANC had since acknowledged that 'members of the ANC had fired the first shots' in the Shell House shootings. Civil claims had been instituted. The commission decided that, in these circumstances, no purpose could be served by any further inquiry by itself, especially as such inquiry could prejudice the pending judicial proceedings.

Report on Attacks on the SAP

Also on 21 April 1994, the commission presented its final report on attacks on members of the SAP. In doing so, the commission also referred to the inquiries it had conducted into the murder of IFP members and leaders, so as to test the truth of IFP allegations that these assassinations were being systematically perpetrated by the ANC and Umkhonto. The Natal Investigation Unit had examined 140 cases, occurring between 17 June 1991 (the date on which the legislation establishing the commission came into effect) and 30 November 1993. In only 29 cases were inquest reports and documents available. In all others, the police (either SAP or KZP) had not yet completed their investigations.

The unit examined the inquest documents and came to a provisional conclusion that 'there was no evidence connecting the ANC or MK [Umkhonto] with the deaths'. Later, the SAP furnished the unit with written information on the 111 outstanding cases. By 21 April (the date of the commission's final report on attacks on the police), the unit had concluded that 'in 70 of the cases there was no evidence at all linking ANC or MK members with the murders'. In total, thus, 99 cases had been investigated and had yielded no evidence of MK and ANC involvement. The commission said it was awaiting further information regarding the remaining 41 cases and would report on this in due course.

Report on the KZP's Attempted Purchase of Firearms from Eskom

On 22 April the commission presented its report on the attempted purchase of firearms by the KwaZulu administration from Eskom. Eskom, the commission noted, had a number of surplus firearms in its possession, as some of its installations had been downgraded from 'national key points' and the security provided by Eskom had generally been decreased. Surplus firearms had been transferred to Eskom's head office at Megawatt Park in Sandton (Johannesburg), and were under the control of Mr Johan van der Walt, the manager of the national protective services department. Mr van der Walt had no authority to sell the arms on behalf of Eskom, however.

The attempted purchase was discovered when an executive director of Eskom left his office at about 7pm on 25 March 1994, and noticed a bakkie and two open lorries being loaded with LM-4 rifles. The vehicles had no registration plates, but the lorries had registration numbers painted on their doors, preceded by the letters 'ZP'. He was told that the rifles were destined for the KZP. Having ascertained that the sale had not been properly authorised by Eskom, he ordered the rifles to be unloaded and cancelled the sale.

The commission found that the attempted purchase had arisen when Mr Philip Powell of the KwaZulu administration had told a security company in Durban that the KwaZulu administration urgently wanted to purchase a quantity of rifles. A purchase of 1000 LM-4 rifles from Eskom, at a price of R2,1m, had been arranged through various intermediaries. Application was made to the SAP for a permit for the export of the arms, and was issued on the basis that a cabinet prohibition on the export of arms to the Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and the Ciskei did not apply to non-independent homelands such as KwaZulu.

The commissioner of the SAP, General Johan van der Merwe, told the commission that 'the acquisition of firearms by a police force was not an uncommon event' and that 'the KZP was regarded and treated in all aspects like any other police force'. He added that the LM-4 rifles in issue were semi-automatic and were far less dangerous than the automatic R-4 rifles normally used by police forces. (He stated that 'members of the National Peace-keeping Force, whose training was far more inadequate than that of the KwaZulu Police Force, were all issued with R-4 rifles'.)

The commission also investigated the alleged involvement of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in the transaction. This allegation arose from a report in the Weekend Star that a Mercedes Benz, registered in the name of the NIS, had been seen outside Megawatt Park at the relevant time. The NIS testified that the vehicle with the registration number indicated in the report was a three-ton truck which had not left the NIS garage on 25 March. This evidence was not disputed and the commission was satisfied that the NIS had not been involved.

The commission found that the KwaZulu administration and KZP had acted openly in relation to the purchase. It found it 'unfortunate' that the commissioner had not referred the matter to the minister of law and order before authorising the issue of a permit. 'It was relevant that the commission had reported in December 1993 that there was evidence of at least one hit squad operating within the KZP. Furthermore, only a week prior to the issue of the permit the commission had reported that there was prima facie evidence that officers of the SAP were involved in the illegal delivery of firearms to KwaZulu.' Moreover, 'the potential for increased violence in KwaZulu was a matter for daily concern at the time'. In all these circumstances, it was disturbing that the commissioner should have failed to appreciate the sensitivity of the matter.

Final Report of the Commission

On 27 October 1994 the commission presented its final report, in which it summarised the stage reached in various investigations. In relation to its report of 18 March-implicating three SAP generals as well as Col de Kock in gun-running to the IFP and other criminal activities-it stated that investigation was continuing and was being conducted by an international team of investigators headed by the attorney general of the Transvaal. The commission felt it had no further role to play in this regard, as 'the investigation of crime and the prosecution of offenders' lay outside its brief. It reiterated the numerous reasons it had had for making the allegations public when it did. These, it said, included the high office of those implicated, the serious implications of the allegations made, and the imperative need to safeguard the election process. It welcomed the announcement by the minister for safety and security, Mr Sydney Mufamadi, that a special investigation team had been appointed to follow up the work of the Wallis committee on the KZP.

The commission recalled that, in its final report on attacks of members of the SAP, it had noted that an inquiry into the murder of members of the IFP had, in the 99 cases reviewed at that stage, revealed 'no evidence linking members of the ANC and MK to the murders'. Since then, the commission said, the remaining 41 cases had been reviewed, with the same result. The commission was thus satisfied that 'having examined a large proportion of the total of 140 cases, it could not find evidence to support the allegation of a systematic policy by the ANC and MK to murder leaders of the IFP'.

ANC Comments on the Findings of the Goldstone commission

The ANC reacted coolly to the commission's interim report on Bruntville, released in February 1992, which laid part of the blame for the conflict in the area on its supporters. 'The interim report does not take us much further than what any reasonable person could speculate,' said an ANC spokesman, Mr Saki Macozoma. 'We don't want to shoot the report down,' he continued, 'but anyone who reads the papers would have come to a similar conclusion.'

At the end of May 1992 the ANC initially reacted sharply to the publication of the commission's second interim report. The president of the ANC, Mr Nelson Mandela, rejected the finding that 'ANC/Inkatha rivalry was responsible for political violence in the townships'. He said that this finding was 'superficial and pre-emptive' as it failed to take into account the fact that 'the rivalry had been fostered and manipulated by the South African government and its security forces'. Mr Mandela also criticised the report for placing the responsibility for ending the violence on the IFP and ANC. He said that this, too, 'ignored the reality that it was the National Party regime which wielded state power'. The ANC president added that the report pre-empted the commission's investigations into the SADF's training of Inkatha members in the Caprivi and the government's secret funding of Inkatha over a number of years. 'We remain convinced,' Mr Mandela stated, 'that the police and army are responsible for fomenting the violence in our country.'

In making his comments, Mr Mandela-who was delivering the opening address to an ANC four-day national policy conference in Johannesburg-'went out of his way to avoid a personal attack on Judge Goldstone'. He also left no doubt, however, that the ANC rejected the commission's conclusions outright. Delegates to the conference said the report 'raised serious questions about the future credibility of the government-appointed commission'. They said that the judge had 'made a fundamental error' and continued: 'It appears he doesn't understand that the current violence is all part of a process which began long ago.'

Mr Mandela subsequently accepted that the report itself was fair, but accused the South African government of having 'scandalously manipulated its contents' by giving emphasis to a press release which dealt with only a portion of the findings of the full report. Having by this time read the report in its entirety, Mr Mandela expressed satisfaction that 'the commission had gone into the question of the violence in an objective manner'. The ANC would have preferred it if the commission had taken its probe yet further, but believed that what had emerged through the report was 'fair'. Mr Mandela said that Judge Goldstone appeared 'fully to understand' the ANC's position. The ANC president added that the report 'would strengthen the ANC's hand in negotiations. It had clarified a number of things, and in many instances had taken the same position [as the ANC]. It would be difficult for the government to refute the charges [made against the security forces]'.

Mr Mandela castigated the government for the way in which it had dealt with the full report, saying that it had focused only on the issues which suited its perspective. The government had claimed that the commission had 'exonerated the security forces and the state from involvement in the ongoing violence'. In reality, however, the report had made it clear that 'part of the violence was attributable to state complicity in undercover activities, including criminal conduct on the part of the security forces'. The ANC thus believed, added Mr Mandela, that the government had acted in a manner which was 'scandalous and reprehensible in the extreme'.

Mr Macozoma said that 'the way in which the government had handled the report could have had serious consequences'. It could, he warned, have 'dented Goldstone's reputation and thereby impeded an important instrument of the National Peace Accord'.

At the end of 1992 the commission issued its third interim report on violence, and the ANC welcomed the approach of the report toward political tolerance. (The commission had said that the possible role of non-governmental organisations, such as the National Child and Family Welfare Organisation, in promoting political tolerance should be given careful consideration. The ANC said it agreed with this proposal, and added that 'it concurred with the spirit of the Goldstone statement'. 'All South Africans have a very important role to play in creating peace as well as political tolerance in the country,' it said.)

Regarding the report's further call-for an end to 'all confrontational and inflammatory political attacks on the authorities' during constitutional negotiations-the ANC said it was unable to respond in detail until it had studied the report in full. A spokesman for the ANC, Mr Carl Niehaus, added that the ANC was also not sure whether the commission had advocated the right way of keeping political leaders in line. (The commission had recommended that political leaders who attacked opposition parties in a manner that breached the National Peace Accord should be prohibited from addressing public meetings for a set period.) Mr Niehaus also rejected the commission's view that political rivalry between the ANC and IFP remained the primary trigger for violence. 'It is wrong to simply share the guilt between the ANC and IFP,' he continued. 'In many cases the IFP has used violence to promote its own political expansionist aims,' he stated.

The ANC made no comment on a further report by the commission, issued in December 1992, saying that it could find no evidence that Renamo, the rebel movement in Mozambique, had any link with the KZP, or was training KZP members in hit-squad activities.

The ANC also made no comment on another commission report (on the illegal importation of arms) warning that 'violence in South Africa could reach critical dimensions unless drastic measures were taken to curb the inflow of AK-47s from Mozambique'. During the hearing, however, the ANC made it clear that the organisation was not prepared to address 'the specific issues arising out of the possession of arms and ammunition by members of Umkhonto'. The ANC demanded that the SAP and SADF explain the steps they were taking to 'obviate any leakage of weaponry', but declined to give any account of its own arms caches.

In December 1993 the commission issued its fourth interim report, stating that it had found 'credible evidence' of a hit squad which had been operating within the KZP, and was probably responsible for the murder of nine people-including 'leaders and members of the ANC'-during 1992 and 1993. The ANC said that these disclosures 'underlined the urgent need for the TEC to establish a national peacekeeping force and to take control of all armed formations'. The ANC said 'the report confirmed the systematic elimination of ANC leaders and the ANC's contention that the violence in South Africa was part of a systematic destabilisation policy emanating from elements of the security forces'. The commission had also found that 'the persons suspected of operating in the hit-squad' had been trained by the SADF in the Caprivi in 1986. 'The fact that the men were part of a group that was secretly trained in Caprivi indicated that the hit squad was part of a broader plan of action,' said the ANC. The report, said the ANC, called into question the assertions previously made by the government and others that 'political rivalry' between the ANC and IFP was the reason for the violence. 'We await with interest,' the ANC added, 'the response of the South African government to such abuse of taxpayers' money and direct involvement in murder, particularly considering that the [hit squad suspects] were involved in the Caprivi training.' The ANC concluded that all those involved in the hit squads should be brought to book, and that the names of both the victims and the murderers should be revealed as soon as possible.

(Also in its fourth interim report, the commission had urged that the Internal Stability Division (ISD) of the SAP should retain its presence on the east Rand, saying that the withdrawal of the Internal Stability Unit (ISU) in question would 'probably lead to even more violence'. The ANC dismissed this aspect of the report, stating that Judge Goldstone's 'insistence on continued ISU deployment was unacceptable', particularly as the judge had acknowledged his inability to comment on the justification for the various criticisms levelled against the unit. The ANC repeated its call for the withdrawal of the ISD, and said it should be deployed in future only 'in consultation with the local SAP, peace and community structures'. 'The ISU,' it continued, 'was a paramilitary force that had, through its actions, come into direct conflict with many communities, reinforcing the perception that it was aparamilitary force deployed against them, not a police force there to protect and serve them.')

In March 1994 the commission published a report implicating three senior SAP generals and other senior police officers in gun-running to the IFP, as well as train and hostel violence. In response, the ANC said that the report 'confirmed that there was a "third force" engaged in murder and other criminal activities in pursuit of anti-democratic aims'. The report, it stated, 'indicated the existence of a sinister conspiracy committed to the destabilisation of the country and the subversion of the transition to democracy'. The ANC described the report 'as an indictment against certain elements in the SAP, the KZP and the IFP'. 'It confirms the charge the ANC has made many times that there exists a third force engaged in murder and other criminal activities in pursuit of anti-democratic aims. It is evident that gun-running is only an aspect of the killer machines that are being run. The full extent and range of these killer machines still needs to be revealed,' the ANC stated. It said that it supported in full the recommendation that 'all possible steps be taken to neutralise elements in the SAP and KZP likely to cause and encourage violence and intimidation before and after the elections'. It congratulated the commission and the members of the SAP who had come forward to give evidence 'for the excellent work they had done so far', and 'called on all members of the SAP who might have more information to co-operate in the further investigations'. The report 'seemed to confirm', the ANC concluded, what it had been stating for many years: 'that there was an organised third force within the highest police ranks'.

Speaking at an ANC rally in King William's Town (eastern Cape), the national chairman of the ANC, Mr Thabo Mbeki, stated that the ANC would pursue the investigation 'no matter how high it reached'. 'It doesn't matter how high people are, it does not matter how big their titles, it doesn't matter where they are within the politics of South Africa,' he continued. 'The terrorists must be punished,' he said. Mr Mbeki added that the ANC owed this to 'the democratic process and to the people throughout the country', and that the report 'gave the lie' to the belief that 'what had been happening in South Africa was black-on-black violence'.

Comments by the SAP in Submissions to the Goldstone Commission

In its submissions to the Goldstone commission in December 1992, the SAP identified six primary causes of political violence in KwaZulu and Natal. In summary, the SAP attributed the blame for conflict to both the ANC and IFP. It also cited considerable evidence regarding the culpability of the ANC and Umkhonto in violence, but this was ignored by the commission.

The SAP identified the six primary causes of conflict as the political struggle for supremacy between the ANC and the IFP; the availability of firearms and other weapons of war; the campaign of non-cooperation with the police coupled with attacks on members of the force; competition for jobs in a shrinking economy; and 'the recruitment, training and maintenance of soldiers for private armies and the use of such armies to further political aims'. In this regard, it noted in particular 'the use of Transkeian territory as a haven for common criminals, as a training centre, and as a springboard for the launching of attacks on the ANC's political opponents'. The sixth factor, it said, was 'the hero-worshipping of persons involved in the armed struggle', which set a poor example to impressionable youth.

According to the SAP, 'both ANC and IFP supporters had been guilty of assassinations or participation in the massacre of political opponents'. It cited a number of examples. For instance, on 4 July 1992 a car leaving the yard of a prominent ANC member was attacked, and seven members of his family were killed. Six people were arrested, including a prominent member of the IFP. On 4 September 1992 women and children waiting for transport to an IFP Women's Brigade meeting in Ulundi were attacked with AK-47 rifles and 12 people were killed-mostly women and children. Prominent members of the ANC were later arrested and AK-47 rifles in their possession were ballistically linked to the September massacre.

The SAP also cited an example of the Transkei being used as a haven for attackers. It said that 24 people had been shot dead and another 24 injured in an attack on a homestead in Folweni (near Durban) by attackers using AK-47 rifles. The SAP had arrested seven suspects, some of whom were known members of the ANC and Umkhonto. According to the SAP, 'the attackers planned to flee to Transkei and some of the weapons used originated from Transkei'.

The SAP also gave an example of an attack for which the 'third force' had been wrongly blamed for the killing of an ANC member. The ANC, it said, had publicly blamed 'organs of the state' for the murder of a prominent ANC member, Mr Neé Radebe, in August 1992. Investigations subsequently revealed, however, that 'ordinary criminals and a member of MK who had since been killed had been responsible for the attack' on Mr Radebe. (At the time, the police stated, Mr Radebe had been on trial for murder, arising from the deaths of three children killed in an attack on the car of Mr Abdul Awetha in February 1992.)

The SAP also gave examples of a number of attacks perpetrated by ANC members dressed in security force uniforms, or having such uniforms in their possession. In August an IFP leader and his family were shot and killed in the Patheni district, near Richmond (Natal Midlands). 'AK-47 assault rifles and SADF uniforms were used in the attack, which occurred in broad daylight.' Some of the attackers 'were trained members of MK'. Evidence showed that 'a policeman had supplied the attackers with the SADF uniforms', having earlier obtained them 'from a soldier attached to 121 Battalion at Mtubatuba (on the north coast)'. The motive for the attack was 'the ANC's intention to re-take control over the Patheni geographical area' and the belief that the IFP leader concerned, Mr Nzimande, 'stood in the way of giving effect to that intention'.

Later in August, the home of an IFP induna in the Mkobeni area (Natal Midlands) had been attacked and five members of his family shot. 'His attackers were said to have been dressed in SAP and SADF uniforms.' On 14 September 1992, eight people were shot dead and seven injured when IFP members were ambushed. Two youths suspected of the killings were 'found to be in possession of parts of army uniforms'. They were also card-carrying members of the ANC.

Also in August, the ISU had investigated a complaint that an ANC member had been shot by a member of the KZP. A witness stated that men dressed in SADF camouflage and police uniforms had shot, killed and injured seven people in Mpushini Reserve. Three of the attackers had been killed. One was wearing KZP camouflage trousers, one an SADF uniform and one an SAP jacket. 'None of them were actually members of the forces whose uniforms they were wearing.'

The SAP noted that a number of such attacks-in which the perpetrators had been wearing 'either official uniforms or camouflage uniforms which bore a striking resemblance to those officially worn by members of the SAP or other security forces'-had been given extensive newspaper coverage. Investigation had revealed, however, that members of the security forces had not been involved in the attacks. 'The obvious intent of such attackers,' the SAP concluded, 'was to smear the South African Police, and the other security forces, by having the blame falsely laid at their door.' It noted, in addition, that while 'such attacks were often emblazoned over newspaper reports', the true facts which resulted from later investigation were not.

The police also gave an example of conduct by the ANC which seemingly violated the National Peace Accord. On 4 October about 500 ANC supporters gathered in Ezakheni to begin a march on Ulundi. 'The march commenced. A cardboard coffin was carried by persons at the front of the procession. It pretended to carry [Ciskei Military Council leader] Brigadier [Joshua] Oupa Gqozo, Chief Buthelezi and "apartheid". The coffin was burnt by ANC supporters. Mr Reggie Hadebe as well as other executive members of the ANC Midlands region attended the march.'

According to the SAP, the ANC was guilty, in addition, of political intolerance and intimidation. 'The most striking and direct example' of this, it said, was to be found in events at Bruntville, Mooi River, as reflected in evidence given to the Goldstone commission from August to October 1992. 'It was apparent from the evidence that all IFP supporters had been driven from the township by attacks upon their houses and their lives, and by intimidation, and that they had sought refuge in the hostel. During his evidence, Mr Mncedisi Mthethwa, the ANC youth leader in Bruntville and the man in charge of the ANC's street committees in the township, proudly told the commission that there were no IFP supporters left in the township. What was significant about this evidence was that Mr Mthethwa could only have known that there were no IFP supporters left in the township if the people living in the township were required to state their allegiance to Mthethwa's men Further, when he testified, Mr Mthethwa's main concern about the violence which was wracking Bruntville and Mooi River appeared to be that the commission should assist in having the hostel closed down, or moved, or fenced. Mr Mthethwa's tactic was obvious. Having isolated the IFP supporters in the hostel, he wanted them removed from Bruntville altogether. That would leave the ANC in unchallenged control of Bruntville and in possession of the jobs available at Mooi River.' The SAP added that 'events at Richmond and Mooi River' provided evidence of 'a concerted campaign of intimidation and terror on the part of the ANC'.

The SAP also took pains to emphasise that both sides had been guilty of violence. It noted, however, that the ANC appeared to have a deliberate strategy involving the use of violence, while the IFP had no such guiding design:

It is apparent that both the ANC and IFP have resorted to the assassination of opponents, especially leaders, and the massacre of innocents in their political struggle for control of geographical areas. Intimidation is rife. Houses, cars and even people are put to the torch regularly. The ANC's strategy appears to be to attack the tribal system, to attack councillors in townships within KwaZulu and to attack KwaZulu officials. The IFP does not appear to have any definable strategy, but there is clear evidence of its members and supporters taking part in intimidation and political assassinations and massacres. Fiery speeches made by leaders on both sides exacerbate the atmosphere of violence already prevailing. There further appears to be no control over the activities of local structures and no disciplinary measures are taken even when such steps are promised.'

The SAP also rejected the ANC perspective that traditional weapons contributed significantly to violence and that the carrying of them-which the ANC attributed to IFP supporters alone-should be stopped. The SAP said it was clear from all the evidence that firearms were a far more significant factor in political violence than traditional weapons. It continued:

Even a cursory look at a list of incidents and list of victims disclosed that firearms and explosive devices were used in the vast majority of incidents of political violence reported to the police. Almost without exception those who were killed or injured were killed or injured by being shot with firearms. Whatever was said about so-called 'traditional weapons', they did not appear to contribute much to the actual killings and injuries, as the attackers were using more sophisticated weapons.

The SAP did acknowledge that the carrying of traditional weapons by large numbers of people during political rallies or processions 'might have an intimidatory effect on non-participants'. Within the context of the violence which had been experienced in Natal in recent years, the SAP was satisfied, however, that 'the carrying of traditional weapons paled into insignificance', compared to other issues.

Not only were firearms used far more often than traditional weapons, said the SAP, but the type of firearms being used was also an issue of major concern. According to the SAP, the guns in circulation included 'not only handguns or rifles obtained or stolen from ordinary members of the public, but also the most terrifying weapons of war such as R-1, R-4, G-3 and AK-47 rifles, machine guns and machine pistols, rifle grenades and hand grenades'. These weapons, it stated, were 'used freely in the struggle for political supremacy'. The weapons were obtained from a number of sources, including theft from the security forces, arms caches, arms smuggling (from the Transkei, Lesotho and Mozambique in particular), the issue of G-3 rifles by the KwaZulu administration to tribal authorities, and the manufacture of 'homemade' weapons.

Of particular concern, stated the SAP, was 'the availability and use of weapons emanating from Transkei'. 'There was evidence,' the SAP continued, 'that the ANC received weapons from other countries through Transkei. The weapons were then transported into South Africa through Lesotho. The information was to the effect that weapons were being supplied to MK members within the RSA [Republic of South Africa]. It also appeared that the Transkei Defence Force was directly involved in the storage and supplying of weapons to MK commanders, who in turn re-distributed the weapons to self-defence units for use in organised attacks and self-defence. The information in the possession of the SAP was to the effect that MK commanders actually submitted requisitions to the Transkei Defence Force for the weapons and ammunition needed, which were then supplied by the chief of logistics to the Transkei Defence Force. The weapons and ammunition were then smuggled into the RSA along selected routes. Transkei Defence Force vehicles were even used to smuggle the weapons and ammunition into the RSA as they had free access to the RSA and came in on a daily basis.'

The SAP also expressed particular concern about the leniency displayed by the courts in relation to people found in possession of arms, explosives and ammunition. A 'single example' of this, it said, would suffice. On 11 June 1992 members of the SAP Narcotics Bureau stopped a car travelling towards the Transkei border. Three men inside the car were found in possession of three AKMS machine guns, nine AKMS magazines, two Stechkin automatic pistols, six Stechkin magazines, three primed hand grenades and two pistols-one a Beretta pistol, modified and fitted with a silencer. They also had a number of rounds of ammunition. Two were members of the Transkei Defence Force, and all 'admitted that they were trained members of MK'. A road map was found in the car, 'indicating a journey from uMzimkhulu [Transkei] and then via Thornville to Camperdown [both near Pietermaritzburg] and Inanda. Edendale [Pietermaritzburg], Inanda and Umlazi [near Durban] were circled on the map'. 'One shudders,' said the SAP, 'to think for what purpose the weapons had been intended, especially having regard to the fact that a silencer is an assassin's tool.' The men were convicted of illegal possession of the various arms. They were each given a two-year suspended sentence, and fines totalling R900, which they paid immediately. 'These sentences were not simply inadequate,' said the police. 'They were shocking to the point of being ridiculous.'

Turning to the role of private armies in political violence in the region, the SAP stated that 'the only private army which had featured in the violence in recent years was Umkhonto we Sizwe'. 'Incidents where members of MK had been involved or implicated in violent attacks perpetrated for political purposes (or even common crimes) abounded,' it said. There was evidence that, in the Richmond area, the 'ANC had adopted a military approach by putting together a large army of men to drive out the IFP-supporting inhabitants of Gengeshe'. In addition, 'the evidence appeared to be that the ANC was training and maintaining a large army of men, many of whom were being trained in Transkei for attacks on the IFP, from Transkei. After such attacks the ANC members returned to Transkei knowing the SAP had no jurisdiction there'. It said a good example of this was the incident, cited earlier, in which three members of Umkhonto had been apprehended, while returning to the Transkei, with an extensive arsenal in their possession including a silenced Beretta pistol. 'It was clear from the available evidence,' said the SAP, that the three men 'had been sent on a military type mission from Transkei to Natal'.

The SAP said it was also clear that 'the training of the so-called self-defence units was being done along the lines of military training'. It continued:

During the last two years various leaders of the ANC, SACP [South African Communist Party], Cosatu [Congress of South African Trade Unions], civic organisations and MK have called upon communities to form 'self-defence units' ('SDUs') to enable the communities to 'defend themselves'. The formation of such SDUs is left to ANC local branches and they are mainly formed by ANC Youth League members. Instructions have been given to MK members in the community to assist in the formation of these units. In this regard the Regional Officer of the ANC provides the branch forming the SDU with documentation to serve as guidelines. Many of the documents provided and used as training manuals are openly militaristic and incompatible with the notion that the SDUs are there for the purpose of self-defence.

It was also indisputable, said the SAP, that the ANC 'maintained an army of men in MK and had access to a large variety of weapons kept in arms caches across the face of the country'. The SAP continued:

The continued active recruitment of persons for training as soldiers of MK, the involvement of MK members in the violence, the formation of the SDUs and their militaristic nature, coupled with the aggressive speeches made by leaders of the ANC lead one to the simple conclusion that the ANC is waging an aggressive war on its political opponents by military means.

The IFP, moreover, was 'disadvantaged in its resistance to the ANC's onslaught'. 'The IFP,' stated the SAP, 'simply lacked the quantity and sophistication of weaponry available to the ANC.'

IFP Comments on the Findings of the Goldstone Commission

Responding to the commission's second interim report, the IFP acknowledged that both itself and the ANC were indeed involved in violence. It was wrong to ascribe all violence to the rivalry between the two organisations, it said, as there were many other factors which contributed to conflict-including socio-economic issues.

Chief Buthelezi said that there was 'much in the report with which he disagreed'. He also commended Judge Goldstone, however, for 'not simply apportioning the blame, but for also appealing for leadership and statesmanship' from the ANC and IFP. He stated that the IFP 'could not simply ignore this appeal', but that the attainment of a lasting peace depended on the goodwill of both organisations. The IFP president acknowledged that his organisation was involved in violence 'in the form of self-defence, retaliation and to pre-empt any further attacks'. He added, however, that 'his organisation was a victim of ANC aggression'. This, he urged, should not be seen as sufficient to exonerate the IFP. 'Let us be man enough,' Chief Buthelezi said, 'to accept our part in the violence and look to the future because we owe it to the present generation, and to future generations.' 'I believe,' he stated, 'that we have reached the crossroads in South Africa where people are sick to death of parties blaming each other. There comes a time when this must be transcended if we are to make any progress.'

The IFP strongly criticised the third interim report, published by the commission in December 1992, following its preliminary hearings into violence in Natal and KwaZulu. The IFP acknowledged that there were positive sides to the report, and said that the implementation of certain proposals would have practical merit. Overall, however, it believed that the lack of 'incisiveness and objectivity' in the report meant that the commission 'had failed to fulfil its brief and its potential'.

The IFP criticised, in particular, the commission's failure to investigate the 'continuing assassination of IFP leaders, more than 240 of whom had been murdered as part of a longstanding and deliberate strategy'. It also found it strange that the commission had failed to 'make any reference to Umkhonto we Sizwe and its role in the violence'. It added that Umkhonto's complicity in violence-through cross-border raids, the military training provided in the Transkei, and the use by Umkhonto of security force uniforms in attacks on the IFP-had been ignored by the commission.

The IFP also made a number of specific comments on different paragraphs of the commission's report. It criticised the commission's decision that-of the 22 submissions referred to it-only the allegations of harassment of returned exiles by the SAP and KZP should be further probed. In acceding to this request alone, the commission had effectively ignored the IFP's many requests for further investigation of other issues. The commission's focus on the returned exiles' request also indicated a bias in favour of those in the ANC camp. It further suggested that the commission considered it more important to investigate incidents of harassment than the incidents of murder described by the IFP.

The commission had also decided that investigation of specific incidents of violence would be impracticable and would 'not add significantly to the commission's understanding of the causes of public violence', most of which, it inferred, could be attributed to 'political rivalry' between the ANC and IFP. Commenting, the IFP noted that the commission, on occasion, had indeed investigated specific incidents (such as the massacres at Boipatong and Bisho). The IFP also disputed the adequacy of identifying the cause of violence as IFP/ANC 'political rivalry'. 'This phraseology,' it said, 'missed the whole point of why there was such rivalry in the first place and ignored the manner in which this rivalry had manifest itself over the years.'

The IFP added that it had not expected the commission to investigate 'each and every incident of violence' as this would clearly have been an impossible task. It had, instead, requested an investigation into certain categories of violence-such as assassinations, massacres and the involvement of Umkhonto cadres. To facilitate such investigation, it had provided comprehensive details of incidents of this nature. The IFP continued:

We believed the commission should inquire into:

It should not be surprising to the commissioners that their report's complete failure to address these issues suggests to the IFP that the commission does not recognise any significance in our concerns or in their implications for the violence in the region. We contend that the commission appears content to inquire into train violence and taxi warfare elsewhere in the country, but is unwilling to tackle what might possibly be perceived as less politically comfortable.

The IFP also expressed disquiet at a statement made by Judge Goldstone in the course of the inquiry. The viewpoint of the IFP was that there had been no change, after 2 February 1990, in the ANC's programme of violence and in its means of dealing with its opponents. This contention was a vital element in the IFP's submission to the commission. Judge Goldstone cut the IFP short in its argument on this point, however, and did so 'in a manner and tone that cast aspersions on the validity of the IFP submission'. Judge Goldstone informed the IFP that 'he had been assured by the ANC southern Natal chairperson, Mr Jeff Radebe, that the ANC had changed its policies with regard to violence as a political tool'. This, in Judge Goldstone's apparent view, put an end to the matter.

The effect, according to the IFP, was to raise doubts as to 'the commission's preparedness genuinely to come to grips with the causes of violence' in the country. It also showed the extent of the commission's apparent willingness to accept without question 'the bona fides of those whose views ought to be tested more thoroughly'.

The commission had also called for 'a public commitment by the KwaZulu government, the KZP, the IFP and the ANC' to allow free political activity. Commenting, the IFP said that it, as well as the KwaZulu administration and the KZP, had already made such commitments on several occasions. Moreover, the report appeared to suggest that there were four organisations at fault-'three in the IFP camp and only one in the ANC'. 'What of a public commitment,' the IFP queried, 'by the SACP, by Umkhonto, by ANC-aligned civic associations, and by the Natal Indian Congress?'

The commission had also called for the withdrawal of G-3 rifles issued by the KwaZulu administration to tribal authorities. Commenting, the IFP queried why prominence was given to this issue, 'when no mention was made of other organisations' arms caches'. No mention was made, either, of the reasons for issuing the weapons-'for self-protection against those whose stated aim was to destroy tribal authorities and their property'. The report thus suggested that the commission had 'accepted the ANC's position at face value', while having little interest in the viewpoint of the IFP or the amakhosi. The IFP noted, in addition, the 'interesting comparison in the commission's view that the government should expedite the withdrawal of these weapons, and its silence over what role the government should play in dealing with arms caches' belonging to other organisations.

The commission had also stated that both ANC and IFP leaders 'continued to attack each others' parties in terms that clearly constituted breaches of the National Peace Accord' and had suggested that the accord be strengthened by the introduction of 'appropriate sanctions'. The IFP said that it agreed that the accord should be strengthened in this way. The IFP objected, however, to the inference that 'there was equal culpability in the matter'. It said that it had lodged several complaints regarding vilification of its leaders-reflected, for example, in the mock trials of its office-bearers held in Pietermaritzburg, and in the accusation (voiced before the United Nations' Security Council) that it was a 'surrogate' of the Pretoria government. 'To the best of its knowledge, however, no organisation had yet lodged a complaint about the IFP.'

The commission had stated further that 'all political parties should desist from making inflammatory and confrontational political attacks on authorities that were [then] constituted'. This, the IFP said, was entirely inadequate. This was the most important issue of all in understanding the violence, yet the commission had devoted very little attention to it (as much as it had given to the matter of the G-3 rifles). The IFP noted that the report was ambiguous in its wording, leaving it unclear whether it referred to verbal or physical attacks or both. This, the IFP believed, reflected deliberate obfuscation. The IFP felt that 'the report deliberately downplayed a central cause of the violence-physical attacks on "existing authorities" via a programme of ungovernability'. If the commission had been truly interested in ascertaining the causes of violence, it would not have been loth to explain what 'attacks on existing authorities' meant, nor how such attacks came about, nor how the attacks had impacted upon the escalation of violence. The commission should, the IFP said, have probed attacks on councillors, KwaZulu administration representatives (such as KwaZulu urban representatives, members of the legislative assembly, and cabinet ministers), KwaZulu employees (such as teachers and principals, and the KwaZulu police), as well as traditional authorities (chiefs and indunas). 'The report's complete failure to address these issues in any meaningful way,' the IFP stated, 'makes a mockery of the commission's claims to be investigating the causes of violence.'

The commission had also stated that 'no further transfers of land or police stations to the KwaZulu government' should be permitted as this 'would seriously aggravate the violence'. The IFP responded that 'land transfers had no necessary bearing on violence'. It was known, however, that the ANC was 'vociferously opposed to these transfers, not because they would exacerbate violence, but because the ANC wished to ensure the KwaZulu government was not in a position to gain any public credit for land redistribution'. The IFP also failed to understand why transfers of police stations to KwaZulu-'implemented in terms of a perfectly legal and constitutional process'-should cause any problem.

The commission had also noted a number of complaints that IFP affiliation was a precondition for enjoying 'public rights and privileges' in KwaZulu, and had called on the KwaZulu administration and the IFP to 'make a clear statement of policy on these topics'. The IFP described this passage as 'scandalous'. It asked why the commission should have chosen this particular issue as one requiring its comment. The commission, it said-despite its disclaimer to the contrary-had indeed effectively passed judgement on the matter, 'firstly by dealing with this ANC complaint while ignoring IFP complaints, and secondly by suggesting the complaint probably had a substantive basis'. In calling for a public statement, moreover, the commission had ignored the many such statements previously made by the KwaZulu administration and the IFP. 'Any reader of the report would erroneously assume that the IFP and KwaZulu government had made no efforts in that direction and that the commission was justified in issuing what amounted to a reprimand,' the IFP said.

The commission had concluded that, if agreement could be reached on this and the other points it had raised, then 'tensions and the ensuing violence would be materially reduced'. In response, the IFP stated that if the commission believed such agreement would be possible or effective, it was 'harbouring an illusion as regards the real nature of the political struggle'.

The commission was also naive in suggesting that, 'since political leaders had failed to promote political tolerance, "then national organisations such as Child Welfare" could do so'. The commission, the IFP said, was correct in recognising the central importance of political parties practising and encouraging 'a culture of true tolerance and respect for opposing parties and policies'. The commission had erred, however, in giving the impression that 'as far as the ANC and IFP were concerned, there had been some equivalence in the efforts expended on promoting tolerance'. The key issue, said the IFP, was to query why political intolerance had become so prevalent. 'We should like to remind the commission,' the IFP said, 'that this gross political intolerance of opponents was deliberately encouraged by certain organisations which sacrificed both the short-term and long-term effects of this intolerance on the altar of political expediency [to attain] a revolutionary seizure of power.' Moreover, the commission's bland statement that 'political leaders had failed to promote tolerance successfully' obscured a key issue.

The IFP continued:

The reality is, of course, that there is blood on everyone's hands because that is the necessary outcome of a violent conflict. A party under attack either fights or succumbs. But in the absence of any historical context, a reader of the report would tend to believe that the commission is suggesting that as far as the ANC and IFP are concerned, there has been some equivalence in the efforts expanded on promoting tolerance-and that both parties have failed. Of course there has been failure-the real question is why this should be so.

The only way of ascertaining the underlying reason, the IFP stated, was to take more account of recent history. 'We believe,' the IFP said, 'any fair historical account of the development of the internecine violence would show that there was a concerted, planned and publicly staged strategy by [the ANC alliance] to destroy political opponents. The IFP was but one victim.' The Azanian People's Organisation (Azapo), the IFP added, was another. Moreover, it was 'of more than cursory interest that the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) had stated on numerous occasions that there was one common factor to all the political violence in South Africa-the ANC'.

Moreover-instead of assuming an equivalence in the efforts made by the ANC and IFP in promoting tolerance-the commission 'might have taken note of the considerable efforts expended by the IFP in persuading the ANC that its president and that of the IFP should hold joint peace rallies in violence-torn communities'. In this connection, the IFP stated, 'the report might have taken cognisance of the fact:

The IFP continued:

The fundamental reality which the commission, quite inexplicably, merely touches on, is that of a struggle for power, and this situation is no different now to that which has obtained over the past decade or more The commission errs by adopting what amounts to a simplistic approach to this power struggle The report does recognise there is a power struggle, [but] the commission totally fails to deal with the issue meaningfully If the deep-seated causes are not understood and addressed, then suggested remedies, while probably well-intentioned and sometimes useful, will necessarily remain essentially palliative. There is no alternative to a thorough examination of South Africa's recent history. This alone will provide the framework in which the fundamental causes of violence can be both understood and then addressed

It has long been the IFP's view that there cannot be a satisfactory resolution of the political and physical conflict in South Africa until and unless the country as a whole develops agreement on the way forward. This entails the elevation of national reconciliation as a central feature of the transition to democracy. Of necessity it demands that narrow party political interests are made secondary to the national interest. It requires of political actors that strategies premised upon the exclusion and marginalisation of others be replaced by strategies respecting each other's views and each other's rights.

In response to the fourth interim report of the commission-stating that 'credible evidence' had been found of a KZP hit squad involved in the murder of ANC leaders-the IFP said that 'the timing of these public disclosures' was unfortunate. General Roy During said the report had come 'at a time when he and his staff were making earnest efforts to establish sound community relations'. He said that the impetus for the investigation had come from the KZP itself, in immediate response to information that some KZP members may have been involved in criminal activities. Gen During stated that he was 'committed to clean administration and that every effort would be made to eradicate "rotten elements" from his department'. 'The alleged activities of certain renegade members had never, and would never,' he concluded, 'carry the official sanction of his department , [and] the KZP would continue to provide an efficient service to all sections of the community, regardless of political affiliation.'

Chief Buthelezi added that the report was 'an attempt to discredit the IFP for not taking part in the TEC'. He accused the commission of 'helping the government and the ANC to make political capital', and said it had become a 'political body' far removed from the objective forum it had been intended to provide. Chief Buthelezi 'questioned why the KZP were singled out by name when the report did not mention the atrocities perpetrated by Umkhonto we Sizwe and the ANC-dominated self-defence units in the townships'. He added that allegations of hit-squad activities within the KZP had been made on other occasions, but 'at no stage had such evidence been able to stand the test of cross-examination'.

Responding to the release of the commission's report in March 1994-implicating three senior SAP generals and two IFP officials in inter alia the smuggling of firearms to the IFP-the IFP stated that 'there was no evidence whatsoever of any official IFP knowledge of the allegations'. The IFP called for 'a speedy investigation and for the due process of law to run its course to expose the truthfulness or falseness of the accusations'. It advised its members and supporters that 'like the notorious Renamo arms allegation, this was another in a series of "dirty tricks" designed to discredit the IFP and its leadership' in the run-up to the election in April 1994.

The IFP also called on Mr de Klerk to 'inform the world that there was no evidence of any IFP knowledge of the allegations'. The organisation urged Judge Goldstone 'to indicate whether he had any evidence that senior officials received arms as part of an official IFP move to use violence for political ends'.

Mr Themba Khoza, one of the two IFP leaders implicated in arms smuggling, said 'he was prepared to stand trial to clear his name'. He denied involvement in illicit gun-running and said he was 'a man of peace' with an established record in the latter regard. He said he would appear in any court in order to 'put the matter to rest' but would not appear before the commission, as it was biased against the IFP. He accused the commission of acting to 'further the ANC and the De Klerk regime's secret deals', and said he had been 'picked on' by the commission 'because he would be spearheading the IFP's anti-election campaign', due to begin in a few days time. 'The entire story,' he concluded, 'is made of pieces that do not belong together.'

An editorial in Ilanga warned of the dangers of 'drawing swift conclusions on the basis of inadequate data'. It stated that the report 'failed totally to explain' the question of who could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of IFP office-bearers and thousands of IFP supporters. This showed the weakness of the theory espoused by the report, which was unable to explain key elements in the violence. The commission's failure to deal with these deaths showed, in addition, 'a lack of balance [which suggested] a predisposition and therefore a bias'.

The IFP also criticised the report of the Goldstone commission-on the attempted purchase of rifles from Eskom by the KZP in March 1994-for having given the false impression of 'a secret operation foiled at the last minute'. This perception had no foundation, the IFP stated. The purchase had been made openly, under a KwaZulu government order number. The KZP vehicles which came to collect the rifles from Eskom had the KZP insignia displayed, as required under the National Peace Accord. Moreover, the decision to purchase the rifles had been made by the KwaZulu cabinet in response to the ouster from office of Chief Mangope, the former president of Bophuthatswana. When the KwaZulu administration began to evaluate the resources available to it to deal with a situation similar to that which had developed in Bophuthatswana, it had discovered that only one in three KZP policemen was armed. This situation-which had arisen 'through neglect and budgetary constraints'-had needed urgently to be addressed in order to counter unrest of the kind which had occurred in Bophuthatswana. Eskom, moreover, had previously supplied the KZP with rifles, making it logical for the KwaZulu administration to approach the corporation once again for further firearms.

There was nothing sinister nor untoward in the KZP seeking to obtain the firearms it needed to equip its members. The entire incident was 'blown out of proportion' in the commission's report, even though all the correct steps had been taken and a permit (not strictly necessary in law) had been obtained.

In April 1994 the IFP published further comments on the findings of the Goldstone commission. It said that the commission had undertaken some useful tasks, but had failed in its primary mandate to investigate public violence in a comprehensive and impartial way. Instead, the commission had been biased in its approach, and had been 'more concerned with being "politically correct" than with being effective'.

The commission's bias was evident in many respects, but was particularly demonstrated by its refusal to investigate the massacre of IFP supporters, the serial assassination of over 300 IFP office-bearers and the activities of Umkhonto. The IFP accepted that these three issues alone could not account for violence in full. On the other hand, however, they were clearly material and fell within the scope of the commission's terms of reference. Each, the IFP said, required further investigation and analysis.

Failure to Investigate Various Massacres of IFP Supporters

Elaborating on this issue the IFP said that, in its submission to the commission in December 1992, it had 'given details of a number of massacres of IFP supporters' in the province. 'Several of these,' it continued, 'were of particular significance given the use by the assailants of security force uniforms.' To assist the commission, the IFP had confined its evidence to recent massacres-those which had occurred between August and December 1992. The commission had made no attempt to investigate these incidents, however.

At a subsequent hearing in Port Shepstone, the IFP had provided details of six massacres requiring urgent investigation by the commission's special task unit. These massacres had occurred at Bomela, Felekisi, Hlanzeni, Mpushini, Umbumbulu and Umgababa. Though urgent investigation had been promised, no progress was in fact made and no report was published. In the case of the Bisho massacre, by contrast, the commission was able to produce a report within a period of 18 days.

Failure to Investigate the Assassination of IFP Office-bearers

Also in its submission in December 1992, the IFP had presented the commission with a list of 241 IFP leaders from the region who had been assassinated. The IFP had asked the commission to investigate these and ascertain who was responsible for them. Neither a preliminary nor a full inquiry had ever been initiated for this purpose, however, even though the killings reflected a broad pattern-a paradigm of national importance-and were precisely the type of phenomenon the commission had pledged to probe.

The IFP said that it had realised, over time, that the commission had little intention of conducting an investigation into these assassinations. The commission had avoided its responsibility in this regard by saying either that the IFP must first provide detailed information-which the party was unable to do given its lack of policing powers-or that the commission must wait until the SAP had concluded its investigations.

The IFP said it was clearly impossible for the police to reach an end to their investigations, if only because the assassinations were ongoing and intensifying. (The killings had been continuing for nine years and had increased each year.) The commission had also been inconsistent in applying this approach, for in other instances it had begun its own investigations before the police had finished theirs. (Thus, for example, after a shooting at Katlehong (east Rand) in January 1994-in which shots were fired at ANC leaders on a walk-about, killing three people but no ANC office-bearers-the commission had started an investigation the following day.) The commission had manifested no such response, however, to the 'frequent attempted assassinations of IFP leaders and frequent successful assassinations'.

Again by contrast, when an ANC leader in Mpumalanga (near Pietermaritzburg), Mr Philip Ndlovu, was murdered in November 1993, the commission had begun an urgent investigation, saying that it would do so in the context of a wider inquiry. The result was its fourth interim report, in which it alleged hit-squad activity within the KZP. (As regards the latter, the IFP had always condemned hit squads, and the KZP itself had initiated the investigation on which the commission had reported.) The commission's 'sudden focus on the KZP served to confirm not only its unwillingness to investigate the killings of IFP leaders, but [its propensity] to concentrate upon those allegedly responsible for killing ANC leaders'.

The IFP noted that the 'ANC had consistently accused the IFP of being collaborators, puppets, stooges and surrogates of the [former] government', while the commission itself had characterised the IFP as 'a government-supported organisation'. Since the government would be unlikely to assassinate the leaders of its surrogate, it might be reasonable to assume that the ANC-which had clearly used violence for political ends in a number of respects-was responsible for their deaths. The commission, however, had refused to pursue this prima facie case against the ANC.

The IFP added that the former state's security apparatus, which had devoted considerable time and energy to infiltration and surveillance of the ANC and Umkhonto, must have been aware of the various activities of the ANC. Hence, the IFP was 'inclined to the view that the state president would probably not have accused the ANC of assassinating IFP leaders (in Parliament on 20 April 1993) were he not certain of his facts'. (Mr de Klerk had spoken of 'the many graves of members of the leadership of the IFP who have been systematically decimated by the ANC and its structures'.) Mr de Klerk had undertaken to testify on these issues before the IEC, and could also have been called to do so before the Goldstone commission, which had equally extensive powers of subpoena and investigation.

Failure to Investigate the Role of Umkhonto in the Violence

In March 1992, the IFP said, the commission had announced its intention to investigate all 'armed groups which committed or threatened to commit violence in South Africa'. Judge

Goldstone had added that it would be 'inappropriate' to single out any one group as 'this could give rise to a perception of partiality on the part of the commission'. Later in the year, the commission had resolved to investigate Umkhonto, and the ANC had agreed to this investigation being conducted. On 18 February 1994, however, the commission had reported to the press that 'all allegations of MK and SDU involvement in political violence received by the commission had been investigated and the results were a matter of public record'. These results had not been explained in greater detail, however, and seemed effectively to have exonerated Umkhonto and the ANC's SDUs from culpability.

The IFP rejected this assessment. In its submission in December 1992, the IFP had asked the commission to probe the activities of Umkhonto in the region. These, it said, had included 'the continued recruitment and deployment of cadres, their involvement in acts of violence, the illegal use of security force uniforms in violence, and the role of the ANC Natal leadership and the government of the Transkei in this'. It had also asked the commission to probe 'the possible, if not the probable, use of ANC-established arms caches' in the assassination of its leaders, many of whom had been killed with automatic weapons. Thereafter it had asked the commission to investigate 'armed MK training in Durban's townships' and to 'express a considered opinion on the status of MK training within South Africa's borders', which it believed to be illegal. It had submitted evidence to the commission on all these points.

The commission, however, had failed to investigate these issues. The commission had made no finding on Umkhonto training within South Africa, nor on its continuing recruitment of cadres for training and their subsequent deployment in South Africa. Though the commission was willing to investigate the role of the Transkei in assisting the Azanian People's Liberation Army (Apla), it had 'taken no position on the role of the Transkeian authorities in providing logistical and other support for Umkhonto'. Moreover, 'given its interest in third force submissions, it is noteworthy,' the IFP added, 'that the commission has not commented on the use by assassins of police or defence force uniforms'. (It recalled that it had,in December 1992, submitted evidence of 37 cases of this nature.) The commission had also failed to investigate 'the ANC's arms smuggling or its existing arms caches'. The commission's probe in relation to illegal firearms had excluded 'the possession' of illegal weaponry, and had accordingly 'failed to deal with the ANC's recalcitrance regarding arms caches in its possession'.

The IFP reiterated its belief that 'MK was a central element to be taken into account by anyone attempting to put an end to political violence in South Africa'. It accused Umkhonto once again of responsibility for the massacre of IFP leaders and supporters, and said it was vital to investigate its role in violence. The fact that 'MK was a trained, armed and deployed private army of the ANC, subject only to the ANC's political control, and that many thousands of armed cadres were deployed throughout South Africa' made the need for such investigation 'self-evident'.

Umkhonto, the IFP stated, had 'publicly known leaders, headquarters, a formal chain of command, and records'. It was thus susceptible to the same kind of investigation the commission had initiated against the state's security apparatus (through, for example, its 'search and seizure' raid on a military intelligence installation on 11 November 1992). No such steps, however, had been taken against Umkhonto. This, in turn, had 'contributed to a belief by MK that it had carte blanche to do as it wished'. Nor could the commission argue that the training of Umkhonto cadres outside South Africa fell outside its brief, for it had rejected a similar argument in relation to the Caprivi trainees (trained in Namibia by the SADF in 1986). Moreover, in September 1993 the minister of law and order, Mr Hernus Kriel, had revealed that some 3 250 Umkhonto cadres had been arrested 'for crimes of violence that had taken place in terms of the National Peace Accord over the preceding year'. The commission had ignored this evidence, while pursuing its investigation into Apla with determination. 'Was Apla,' the IFP queried, 'a sop to the commission's conscience while MK was politically difficult?'

The IFP added that the commission had also failed to investigate SDUs and the role played by Umkhonto in establishing, training and arming these groups. It was common knowledge, the IFP said, that 'the ANC had been instrumental in the formation of "self-defence units" throughout the country. These SDUs could not be divorced from MK as regards either their formation ("trained cadres of MK must merge into these people's self-defence units and lead them"-Ronnie Kasrils, Sechaba, September 1988) or their present status ("an MK cadre is to be employed on a full-time basis in every region to supervise the creation and functioning of the SDUs" and "additional MK cadres must be employed on a full-time basis to work with SDUs in all major flashpoint areas"-MK conference, 34 September 1993)'. Moreover, in September 1992, the SAP had 'released statistics with regard to SDU involvement in violence-from March to September that year, 145 SDU members had been arrested in connection with 67 murders and armed robberies, 21 attempted murders and numerous incidents of possession of illegal weapons'. Moreover, 28 of those murdered had been IFP members. The commission had nevertheless chosen not to investigate the role of SDUs in violence. By contrast, when members of the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly had announced an initiative to establish self-protection units (SPUs) to protect communities in KwaZulu suffering from violence, there had been an immediate objection from the ANC and the commission had thereupon announced that the matter merited a hearing.

The IFP concluded that the commission had 'elected to operate within self-imposed parameters that precluded its investigations threatening the broader negotiation and transition processes hinging upon a bilateral deal between the government and the ANC. One effect of this was that the commission appeared unwilling to undertake anything which might upset the sometimes precarious relationship between the government and the ANC as regards the existence and activities of Umkhonto'. The government's failure to insist on the ANC's compliance with the D F Malan Accord (by forbidding, for example, the continued training of Umkhonto within the country) showed 'its lack of political will to tackle an issue which was clearly very delicate and which, if pursued, could severely compromise the relationship' between the government and the ANC. Sensitivity to this issue should not, however, have affected the commission which was 'ostensibly independent of government and political parties'. It seemed, however, that the commission had indeed been affected and had accordingly ignored substantial evidence of ANC and Umkhonto involvement in violence. In addition, the commission had not wished to be seen to be 'politically incorrect'. This meant that it could investigate 'soft targets' such as Apla, the KZP, the third force, and so on-but not Umkhonto.

Reports for the TEC

Following its establishment in late 1993, the TEC-which had been formed for the purpose of levelling the playing field prior to the election-took up the issue of hit squads within the KZP and ordered further investigation into these. It appointed a special task team for this purpose, which published two reports on activities of the KZP. The first dealt with the general issue of hit-squad activity within the force, and the second with the training being provided at the Mlaba camp in KwaZulu. Each merits brief description.

TEC Task Team Report into 'Hit-squad' Activity Within the KZP

In March 1994 a task group established by the TEC to investigate hit squads within the KZP presented a preliminary report. The task group had been appointed in mid-December 1993 as a result of the fourth interim report of the Goldstone commission, which had said there was evidence that at least one hit squad was operating within the KZP. The TEC task group was 'charged with gathering relevant information and reporting back to the management committee of the TEC as a matter of urgency'. The task group was initially composed of Professor Nicholas Haysom, a lawyer; General Wynand van der Merwe of the SAP; and Mr Howard Varney of the Legal Resources Centre in Durban. Towards the end of January, however, Gen van der Merwe was replaced, at the request of the SAP, by Colonel Ivor Human.

The task group began by asking the TEC to arrange for indemnity for those able to give evidence on hit-squad activities but reluctant to risk criminal prosecution. The TEC proved unable to do this, and the task-group stressed the urgent need for this to be done-as it would be impossible to expose hit-squad activities without the evidence of an insider. The task group said it had received little assistance from Brig du Preez-an SAP officer earlier mandated to probe illegal activity within the KZP-as his investigation had not proceeded beyond the stage noted by the Goldstone commission in December 1993. It had also received little help from the office of the chief minister in KwaZulu (Chief Buthelezi) despite repeated requests for information.

Having reviewed submissions by various organisations as well as court and commission records, the team said that 'the pattern which emerged from the evidence was obvious and repetitive. It repeatedly referred to certain individuals and similarly revealed a clear pattern with regard to the response by the KZP to hit-squad activity'. Though individual criminal cases and other investigations were 'merely suggestive, when taken together linkages were formed between many of the cases'.

The task group found that 'hit-squad activity in Natal, particularly in areas under the jurisdiction of the KZP, was rife', and that hit squads were responsible for 'a significant proportion' of deaths in political violence. It confirmed Judge Goldstone's conclusion (in the commission's fourth interim report) that there was prima facie evidence of a hit squad in the KZP. The KZP, it continued, 'had been implicated in hit-squad activity in a number of areas throughout the north coast, in the greater Durban area, and in the Midlands'. Some members had been convicted for such activities.

Some of the hit-squad activities could be 'specifically associated with persons who underwent training in the Caprivi Strip in 1986' and thereafter joined the KZP. The training given in the Caprivi had had 'little to do with the stated purpose of VIP protection, but had in fact equipped the trainees with a deadly repertoire of skills in offensive military techniques and guerrilla warfare'. Moreover, 'certain Caprivi trainees and two officials responsible for their training and placement had persistently been linked to hit-squad activity'.

Information had emerged, furthermore, that about 135 Caprivi trainees-prior to their incorporation into the KZP-had been sent on an SAP special training course at Koeberg (western Cape) in January 1988, and had then been deployed as special constables in the Pietermaritzburg area. This, the task group stated, 'could only have taken place through arrangements made at the highest levels in the SAP and KwaZulu government'. The trainees had, moreover, continued to be paid prior to their incorporation into the KZP, either at the Mkuze camp, or from the IFP office in Ulundi. After their training as KZP policemen, 'the Caprivi trainees were deployed at different police stations where certain of them engaged in hit-squad activity, at times in collusion with other persons, including civilians'.

Some officials of the IFP, and employees of a particular KwaZulu administration department, were also implicated in this hit-squad activity. Informants stated:

Certain very senior officials in the KwaZulu government have been involved in directing and supporting hit-squad activity. One KwaZulu cabinet minister has been convicted of murder. The evidence and information in some cases suggests that resources and directives appear to emanate from certain persons in Ulundi, allegedly located at the IFP head office and at the department of the chief minister. These resources allegedly include vehicles, arms and ammunition, and in certain instances, firearms allegedly supplied included AK-47s. Certain IFP members, linked to hitsquad activity, have allegedly been conferred with the authority to carry firearms by being issued with KZP police reservist ID documents. There are other cases which suggest, according to ballistic tests, that the firearms used were drawn from the local KZP armoury.

The task group concluded that the KZP was incapable of investigating hit-squad activities either within or outside its own ranks. 'There is an atmosphere of fear within the KZP and more specifically in relation to being seen in the company of Goldstone investigators or of talking about such activities to outsiders.' A KZP policeman had been assassinated because he co-operated with the Goldstone commission and an attempt had been made to kill two others 'whose loyalty to the IFP was under suspicion'. The higher echelons in the force (with the exception of its commissioner, Gen During) were intent on frustrating investigations by the SAP and 'had actively supported certain suspected KZP assassins by supplying them with their salaries while officially denying any knowledge of their whereabouts'. At least one KZP officer, moreover, 'had allegedly assisted KZP hit men to secure their release from detention'. SAP officers might also have attempted to intervene in investigations.

The task group added that 'the KZP appeared to have a highly politicised concept of their function' and it was doubtful if the force could be 'relied upon to perform its policing duties in an impartial manner, at least under its existing command'. It endorsed the view of the Wallis committee regarding 'the proven incompetence of the KZP' and said that certain dockets in the hands of the KZP should immediately be transferred to an appropriate investigating team. Certain KZP officers had facilitated hit-squad activity, or at least failed to prevent it, and should 'be placed on immediate compulsory leave'. (The task group said it would supply their names in a further report.) Other KwaZulu policemen and individuals, implicated in hit-squad activity, needed to be questioned about their roles.

The task group was satisfied that 'there were linkages and connections between different elements engaged in gun-running and hit-squad activity inside and outside the security forces, both in the Transvaal and Natal'. It thus recommended the establishment of a single investigative team, 'comprised of the most credible hand-picked investigators and lawyers and assisted by recognised international police investigators'. This team should probe a number of issues, including gun-running to the IFP (as described by the Goldstone commission in its report of 18 March) and the Nqutu massacre in November 1993.

It further recommended that 'all Caprivi trainees should be relieved from active policing duties during the period leading up to the elections and be transferred to a single venue, as far as possible free from political violence, where they should be given administrative duties'. All firearms in their possession should be sent for ballistic testing. In addition, 'entire arsenals at specific KZP police stations should also be referred for ballistics testing' and an audit of all KZP weapons should immediately be made. The issue and distribution of all firearms through the department of the chief minister should be stopped, and arms and ammunition should no longer by distributed by the KZP to certain tribal chiefs.

The task group said that it had information 'alleging a wider hit squad network comprising elements within the SAP and private security firms'. This was involved in training and deploying individuals for hit-squad activity, and was responsible for the murder of many activists in the region. 'This network is allegedly preparing for further destabilisation,' it stated. (The task group said it was awaiting further corroboration of these plans, and needed to be able to offer indemnity to obtain this.)

In conclusion, the task group recommended that Gen During set out the exact measures he intended taking to prevent perpetration of hit-squad activities in the lead up to the election. 'Further steps should also be considered in regard to the command and control of the KZP. Such measures could include the possible revocation of the authority to the KwaZulu government to establish its own police force' and accelerating the 'rationalisation of the KZP and the SAP into the South African Police Service'.

The task group also expressed its concern at paramilitary training taking place at certain camps, including the Hlongwane camp. Former Caprivi trainees were involved in this and the TEC, it said, 'should act swiftly to prohibit political parties across the spectrum from conducting paramilitary training'. Such training, it warned, 'could be a prelude to violence and devastation in Natal of an unprecedented order'. It recommended that all such camps immediately be searched and illegal weapons found there seized.

The task group said it was aware that conflict between the ANC and IFP was the cause of much of the violence, and that both parties bore responsibility for this. However, 'the use of policing agencies and resources to murder and maim political opponents was a practice which, if allowed to continue, would tear apart the whole fabric of society'.

On 29 March 1994 the TEC task force issued a second report, 'not initially published but later leaked', which identified senior KZP officers whose conduct warranted investigation and, in some cases, suspension. Immediate suspension was recommended for Major General Sipho Mathe (deputy commissioner of the KZP) who had, inter alia, failed to conduct a proper investigation into the possession, by a KZP constable and former Caprivi trainee, Constable B M Ngubane, of an AK-47 rifle 'supplied for the purpose of assassinating opponents of Inkatha by three other Caprivi trainees'. The immediate suspension of a further eight KZP officers was recommended, as well as further investigation into the conduct of seven other officers, including Captain Owen Zama, station commander at Sundumbili Police Station.

Those recommended for immediate suspension were accused, inter alia, of having been 'deeply implicated in hit-squad activity' and 'present at meetings at which assassinations had been planned'; of failure to investigate colleagues suspected of hit-squad activities; of participation in 'the cover up in the notorious Trust Feeds massacre of 1988'; of failure to arrest Const Ngubane; of interfering with the investigation into the Nqutu massacre in November 1993; and of withdrawing charges against those suspected of the massacre. Immediate suspension of Brigadier Como Patrick Mzimela, district commissioner at eSikhawini, was also urged on the basis that 'during the time that Mzimela was district commissioner, eSikhawini was ravaged by political violence, much of it now linked to hitsquad activity'.

Those KZP officers requiring further investigation were alleged, inter alia, to have been 'repeatedly linked to hit-squad activities'; responsible for training IFP 'self-protection units' (SPUs); implicated in the case of Const Ngubane; implicated in an attempted cover up of murder charges against KwaZulu deputy minister Samuel Jamile; implicated in the cover up of the Trust Feeds massacre; and 'connected with political violence' in the Sundumbili area.

Report on Training at the Mlaba Camp

A further report was published on 18 May 1994, after the task group had mandated one of its members, Mr Howard Varney, to investigate military training being provided at the Mlaba camp in KwaZulu shortly before the election. The report stated that this training, initially described as training for SPUs, was later depicted as training for special constables prior to their incorporation into the KZP. Some 1 400 trainees were due to complete special constable training on 26 and 27 April. (The task team inferred a possible link between the training and the abortive attempt, investigated by the Goldstone commission, by the KZP to purchase firearms from Eskom.)

On 26 April Mr Varney met the executive secretaries of the TEC, Mr Mac Maharaj and Mr Fanie van der Merwe, as well as General Wynand van der Merwe of the SAP in Pietermaritzburg. It was agreed that a search of the Mlaba camp should be conducted, and a contingent of police and troops left for the camp by helicopter for this purpose. Gen van der Merwe tried to land first, in an attempt to secure agreement to a search. A large crowd was visible at the camp at the time (about 5pm) and 'the situation became threatening when persons in the crowd picked up stones and the helicopter made a hasty retreat'.

Gen van der Merwe then instructed the local ISU to set up a roadblock on the access route to the camp. This took time, however, and it seemed that 'some personnel and equipment left the camp between the departure of the SAP helicopter and the establishment of the ISU roadblock some hours later'. Gen van der Merwe also arranged for mechanised units of the SADF to move up from Eshowe and Vryheid (both in northern Natal) in support of the operation. Gen van der Merwe planned to ask Mr Philip Powell to hold all men in the camp until the SADF arrived in the morning. Mr Powell later said that he would not object to a search of the camp that night and that the men there were being discharged and paid off by the KZP.

In the event, almost all the trainees who went through the roadblock-on leaving the camp by bus-were permitted to pass through. The officer in command said he had no orders to prevent people leaving the base. The buses had been searched and no illegal weapons found. It seemed, however, that a number of buses had left before the roadblock was established. The departure of most of the trainees, without any processing by the police, was a major setback to the operation, and the deployment of the SADF was called off.

Inspection of the camp showed that the trainees had left in haste. A large quantity of weapons and medical supplies were discovered, including 26 hand grenades, five rifle grenades, 86 G-3 rifles, 49 shotguns and 33 cases of ammunition. 'Hand grenades and rifle grenades were not KZP issue.' Spent AK-47 cartridges were also found. Discovered in Mr Powell's car was a 'homemade' shotgun, 'apparently the same type that was manufactured by the former C-10 (Vlakplaas) persons named in the Goldstone report dated 18 March 1994'.

A former trainee said that the induna (headman) in his area had recruited IFP supporters for SPU training to 'become soldiers for Inkatha'. Training had been provided in the use of a number of firearms, including the R-1, R-4, and R-5 rifles, and the Makarov and Uzzi. Training in the use of hand grenades and rifle grenades had also been provided, and trainees had been instructed in how to make homemade bombs, to sabotage and blow up vehicles, and to set buses alight 'in a manner which would prevent most passengers from escaping'. Trainees had also been taught how to disarm a person with a gun, and how to conduct ambushes of vehicles and people. Officers of the KZP had been involved in the training, and 'all the instructors had emphasised that the skills taught were to be used against the ANC'. Trainees had been told they would receive firearms from their chiefs, and that they should return to the camp on 15 April for instructions as to what to do over the election period.

Further sources stated that all those ostensibly being trained as special constables had received SPU training earlier. Trainees were ill-disciplined and did not want classroom instruction. 'They did not want to be told under what circumstances they could use firearms, as they knew that they had to attack against the ANC who were attacking their areas.' Many complained that they had not been given the firearms promised. On 25 April the trainees were told they would be going home as the TEC had instructed that the training must stop. On 26 April the KZP began paying the trainees off. They were not employed as special constables by the KZP after all, as the force had no money available to pay them.

The task group concluded that the training provided at the camp had been 'unlawful military training, which included training in the use of AK-47 semi-automatic rifles, Makarovs, hand grenades and rifle grenades'. Weaponry and equipment had been removed prior to the search of the camp, while the homemade weapon found in Mr Powell's car indicated 'a connection between the activities at the camp and the subversive operations in the Transvaal' as described in the commission's report of 18 March 1994. The decision to recruit IFP supporters, trained as SPU members, into the KZP required close investigation, for 'it was highly improper' and 'contrary to both the peace accord and the professed impartiality of the KZP'. If recruited into the KZP, these special constables would then have qualified for integration into the SAP, and the SAP's knowledge of the matter had therefore also to be investigated. The task group criticised the SAP for having allowed the trainees to leave, saying that this suggested partisanship towards the IFP. This was especially the case 'given the fact that some 56 ANC trainees found at two ANC training camps in Natal during April had been detained for a number of days'. Moreover, the KwaZulu administration appeared to have spent more than R500 000 on paying as many as 5 000 trainees, and the budgetary authorisation for this required investigation.

The task group noted that 'the illegal training carried out at the Mlaba camp, together with the weaponry which had allegedly been stockpiled, would have provided elements within the IFP and KwaZulu government with the capacity for large-scale insurrection'. The task group recommended further urgent investigation, aimed at recovering the weapons and discovering their source. It said that 'similar action should be taken against other organisations that had engaged in unlawful military training and the stockpiling of weapons'. The role of the KZP required particular investigation, however, for 'there could be no peace in Natal unless impartial policing were provided to all its inhabitants'. In conclusion, the task group called, again, for indemnity for those 'willing to expose the full truth' and thus bring the violence to an end.

Comments by the ANC and the IFP on the TEC's Reports

The ANC generally welcomed the TEC's reports, which endorsed its perspective on the violence in the region. The IFP, however, disputed the content of the reports-stating that the TEC had exaggerated the import of particular incidents while failing to take surrounding circumstances into adequate account.

The IFP's Response to the TEC Report on Hit Squads

According to the IFP, both the Goldstone commission and the TEC artificially inflated the significance of the 'Caprivi trainees', who had been given special training by the SADF in 1986 and later incorporated into the KZP. Both investigation teams ignored the context in which the initial training had taken place, and the extent to which the KwaZulu administration had then been under threat from the ANC and its strategy of ungovernability. 'If account had been taken,' said the IFP, 'of the levels of violence against the KwaZulu administration at the time, the level of threat from the ANC and the intensity of calls for attacks on the KwaZulu administration as an institution of the state and as a bantustan, if you looked at the number of KwaZulu policemen being killed, and the intelligence reports regarding the ANC's intentions to attack Chief Buthelezi, this would readily have explained why 200 men were selected for training.' The Goldstone commission and the TEC, however, had deliberately ignored these factors.

Moreover, said the IFP, there was nothing sinister in the fact that the training was provided by the SADF. The SADF was best placed to provide the paramilitary training needed, and had previously done the same for other homeland forces. Nor was there anything sinister in the content of the training. 'The trainees received a nine-month course with a content similar to that given to special forces in most armies. They were trained as a paramilitary protection unit, and were given all the training necessary for that.' The training needed to be reasonably extensive, to give the trainees the capacity to deal with unforeseen contingencies.

Some of the Caprivi trainees, the IFP acknowledged, may since have become involved in criminal activities. If this were the case, however, they had done so as individuals. This did not prove in any way that 'hit squads' were 'rife' within the KZP. 'To say that a small group of people had tainted the entire KZP was an enormous exaggeration.' This, however, was what the TEC had done. Instead of acknowledging the limited nature of the evidence before it, the TEC 'had taken three or four individual incidents and then attributed the pattern of those incidents to the entire KZP'.

The TEC's conclusion that the KZP was politically motivated in favour of the IFP was also both false and unsubstantiated. The TEC ignored the extent to which many KwaZulu policemen showed a political affiliation towards the ANC, for there were a number of senior officers in the force who lived in ANC strongholds and had strong ANC ties. All KwaZulu policemen who lived in areas which were highly politicised were affected by their milieu. This reality was deliberately overlooked by the TEC. Moreover, 'the TEC went much further, to say that political affiliation-where it was oriented towards the IFP-was institutionalised. This was not true. The empirical basis for making such an assumption was very shaky. It was based on a few isolated incidents.'

Further allegations made by the TEC-regarding the role of the department of the chief minister in supplying weapons and ammunition to KZP 'hit squads'-were based solely on hearsay, and were not corroborated by other proven evidence. Nor was there any established link between the 'hit squad' activity allegedly revealed by the TEC, and the allegations of third-force activity-also unproven-made by the Goldstone commission in its report of 18 March 1994.

The IFP's Response to the TEC Report on Training at the Mlaba Camp

According to the IFP, there was nothing clandestine or illegal regarding the training conducted at the camp. Initially, training was provided for members of SPUs, and was coordinated by two departments of the KwaZulu administration-the department of police and the department of the chief minister. The SPU training was initiated at the request of the amakhosi, who had been under sustained attack for a number of years and needed greater protection. Nor did the establishment and training of the SPUs constitute a breach of the National Peace Accord, for the accord recognised the right to self-protection, provided this was exercised in a lawful way and in liaison with the police. The SAP were thus fully informed of the training, and a senior police officer from Melmoth (northern Natal) 'visited the camp regularly to check that everything was above board and legal'. The media were also invited to the camp and visitors came to it throughout the training process.

The TEC, in terms of the powers accorded it by law, was entitled to access to information held by government agencies, including the police. The TEC could readily have obtained information on the Mlaba camp from the SAP. There was no need for the TEC to have conveyed 'an artificial sense of having discovered key information about the camp-when there was no element of secrecy in fact'.

Instead of asking the SAP for information, the TEC instead relied on what it was told by one individual-a Mr Hlongwane, whose nom de guerre was 'Saddam'. He was arrested by the Goldstone commission's investigating unit and then infiltrated into the camp with one of the intakes of trainees. 'He misled the TEC into believing that there were lots of illegal weapons at the camp-that there was a huge arsenal of firearms.' This was not the case, however.

The TEC raid was conducted on 26 April. At the end of March, however, the training of SPUs at the Mlaba camp had been terminated, and some 1 300 of the SPU members had been selected for training as special constables within the KZP. This was done following the ouster from office of Chief Mangope, in Bophuthatswana. The KwaZulu cabinet decided the territory had insufficient policemen to deal with riots of the kind that had preceded Chief Mangope's removal from office. The KZP numbered only 3 100 and was responsible not only for countering unrest but also for guard duties and other non-essential functions. The cabinet decided, accordingly, to release fully trained policemen for duty in reaction units, and to appoint an additional 1 500 special constables who would then assume less exacting functions, such as guarding buildings and installations. Accordingly, some of the men who had been trained as SPU members at Mlaba were put through the KZP selection process, and 1 300 of them were chosen for further training.

After the agreement of 19 April 1994 which brought the IFP into the election, however, the threat of an ANC-induced insurrection in KwaZulu subsided. The training of the special constables was terminated, as it was no longer regarded as necessary. Instructors at the camp were told to send the trainees home. On the day of the TEC raid, accordingly, the KZP quartermaster was at the camp and was paying the men prior to their discharge.

The TEC, however, chose to treat the camp as a dangerous 'terrorist' base. Contrary to what was stated in its report, it began its operation by dispatching to the camp a massive column of 50 armoured vehicles, together with heavily armed members of the reaction unit from Empangeni, and instructing these men to seal off all roads from the camp. (This was done long before General van der Merwe arrived at the camp by helicopter, contrary to what was alleged in the report.)

Members of the reaction unit-who were in fact in place well before the men began to leave the camp-searched all the trainees on their departure. They discovered one rifle-which a trainee had tried to smuggle out of the camp-and one homemade shotgun. They also found a box of grenades. These were the only weapons found which were not standard KZP issue. Inside the camp's armoury were found KZP shotguns and rifles, as well as boxes of smoke grenades which were used for training purposes. All these weapons had been issued by the KZP quartermaster, and a full inventory had been kept. Also in the armoury were KZP textbooks and police instruction manuals on different aspects of police work, including relevant provisions of criminal law and procedure.

Instead of recording these facts, the TEC report implied that many more illegal weapons would have been found if the road blocks had been set up earlier and if the police had conducted a proper search of the trainees as they left. In reality, however, all the trainees were searched-for the Empangeni reaction unit had been in place some time before the raid took place and insisted on conducting a full search.

The report was also inaccurate in a number of other important respects. For example, the shotgun allegedly found in Mr Philip Powell's car was in fact discovered in the luggage of one of the trainees. It addition, it was not the same kind as had allegedly been manufactured at Vlakplaas at the instance of police generals involved in third-force activities. The report indicated, moreover, that General van der Merwe had come under threat from the trainees when he attempted to land by helicopter. This, too, was untrue. A game fence separated the trainees from the helicopter as it approached the ground. Moreover, the trainees were unarmed and at no stage made any attempt to resist. 'The most striking thing about the report,' the IFP concluded, 'was the false impression the TEC created' that it had found evidence of dangerous and illegal activities of taking place at the camp, when the reality was the opposite.

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.