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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.
Memorandum on Attempts to Prevent the Boipatong Massacre
FROM: NICHOLLS, CAMBANIS, KOOPASAMMY & PILLAY
a During the last week of June and the first week of July 1991, a group of men went a number of times to the house of Ernest Sotsu, an executive member of the Boipatong Branch of the African National Congress (ANC). They informed Mr. Sotsu's family that he should report to them at the Kwa-Madala Hostel and threatened that should he fail to do so, they would take drastic action.
b On the 3rd July 1991, an attack was carried out on his house and his wife, daughter and grandson were killed and two grandchildren were injured.
c On or about the 7th July 1991, an attack took place at the Erica Tavern in Zone 7, Sebokeng. Two residents of the Kwa-Madala hostel were arrested for this attack.
a The abduction of J.M. and Sipho Mthimkulu on the 17th October 1991 by residents of the Kwa-Madala Hostel. They were taken to the hostel and held there against their will for two weeks;
b On the 29th November 1991, P H and Sipho Mazibuko were abducted and taken to the Kwa-Madala Hostel. P H was severely assaulted before he was released. He identified Sipho's body at the mortuary the following day;
c On or about the 8th December 1991 a number of young girls were abducted by residents of the Kwa-Madala Hostel. They were held at the Hostel against their will and raped repeatedly.
14 14 The Field workers continued to receive reports of incidents of violence during January and February 1992:
15 On the 12th February 1992 a young boy reported to the Field workers that he had forcibly been taken from the Mark Park Shopping Centre in Vereeniging by residents of the Kwa-Madala Hostel. He, however, escaped.
16 On the 21st February 1992 an attack took place at the Ha-hlo-ho-ya-peye Tavern in Sharpeville. Five people were killed by the gunshots and several others injured. The survivors informed the Field workers that one of the perpetrators was recognised as a resident of the Kwa-Madala Hostel.
17 On the 15th March 1992, an attack took place at Chief's Place Tavern in Sharpeville. Two women were killed and several injured. One of the perpetrators of the attack was injured by one of his colleagues by accident. He has stated on affidavit as follows:
I am able to live at the Kwa-Madala Hostel without charge. I am unemployed, as are several of the other residents of the hostel. We are supported by those residents who are employed. In addition, we receive food parcels from the International Red Cross every two weeks. We also robbed people in town. We, as a group, approached individuals and threatened them so that they gave us money."
Although the Kwa-Madala Hostel is owned by Iscor, only some of the residents work at Iscor. Some work at other factories and, as mentioned above, the rest are unemployed. All the residents of the Kwa-Madala Hostel are members of the Inkatha Freedom Party. Amongst the residents there are individuals whom are leaders of the Inkatha Freedom Party. Amongst them is one, Buthelezi.
A system exists at the Kwa-Madala Hostel whereby each resident becomes part of a 'unit'. I was placed in a unit consisting of four members.
I was trained in the use of weapons by Buthelezi.
Every resident is trained in the use of weapons.
I am aware that other members of other units were also trained in the use of weapons.
I have seen many arms and ammunition stored at the Kwa-Madala Hostel. Meetings were held every Tuesday and Thursday. At these meetings, we were informed when new weapons had arrived.
The arms are brought by members of the Inkatha Freedom Party, who arrive at the hostel from Natal. I have seen them arrive with AK 47s and spears with poisoned tips.
Some of those who arrive come to the area to work. However, others come to carry out missions and attacks in the local township. Others come to bring arms and then leave.
During the four months that I have lived at the Kwa-Madala Hostel, I have seen units being sent out on missions. However, l have not known exactly where they have been sent to or what missions they have carried out".
On the 15th March 1992, my unit was instructed by Buthelezi to go to Sharpeville Township for the following purpose:
18 to attack comrades who had been responsible for the killing of an Inkatha member, one Tlhola;
19 to attack two taverns, namely, Chief's Place and the Philadelphia Tavern. We were instructed to kill people there because it is known that comrades drink there.
We were also informed that a secondary purpose to our mission was to assist in the attack of comrades for the purpose of Inkatha regaining entry to the townships.
We were given arms by Buthelezi. We were given two rifles amongst the four of us. I was not myself carrying a rifle.
I moved with N. He was carrying a rifle.
Between 8 and 9p.m and at or near Phomolong Section in Sharpeville, we saw a group of comrades. Amongst them was one comrade known to me as Ntopia. My partner opened fire and Ntopia was struck.
We formed two groups. Two stayed on the ground and myself and my partner went forward to shoot. Thereafter, we moved to Chief's Tavern. K was shooting at people in the tavern and the gun jerked and that was when I was hit. I was carrying a rifle at Chief's Tavern. N gave me the rifle.
As far as I am aware our second mission at the Philadelphia Tavern was not carried out after I was struck and injured.
a To establish the circumstances in which people may have been forced by violence or intimidation to vacate homes or hostels in Alexandra Township, the Greater Soweto Area and the Vaal Triangle;
b To establish the names and present whereabouts of such persons;
c To establish whether persons have acquired occupation of homes or places in hostels in those areas in consequence of violence or intimidation and, if so, the circumstances in which they have come to do so;
d To consider practical and effective ways and means of placing the persons referred to in (a) and (b) back into possession of their homes or places in hostels;
e To consider whether the persons referred to in (a) and (b) are legally or morally entitled to compensation for damages suffered by them by reason of the foregoing circumstances and, if so:
i the amounts thereof; and
ii appropriate sources of funding such compensation;
f To consider steps which should be taken to ensure the safety of persons in the position of these referred to in (a) and (b) and of their property.
DATED at JOHANNESBURG on this the 23rd day of JUNE 1992.