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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

The Case Against The Apartheid State

by CHRIS BARRON

P W BOTHA, Magnus Malan, Adriaan Vlok and Mangosuthu Buthelezi are responsible for gross human rights violations including killing, maiming, torture, abduction and arson, according to the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Its specific findings on F W de Klerk were blacked out after he brought a court action to stop their publication, but enough remains to implicate him in gross human rights violations.

The report finds that the state committed gross violations during his presidency.

It also finds that De Klerk presided over a systematic destruction of "sensitive" records and documents.

It says that when Botha became prime minister in 1978, the state entered a realm of "criminal misconduct" which stretched into the early '90s, "including a part of the period in which his successor held office".

It finds that the Inkatha Freedom Party collaborated with the South African government to kill, maim and destroy property of opponents.

For 12 years from 1982 to 1994, says the report, the IFP committed gross human rights violations in what was then the Transvaal, Natal and KwaZulu. It holds Buthelezi responsible for inciting supporters to commit violence, and blames the IFP for illegally arming them, in collusion with the SA government, for mass attacks resulting in death, injury and destruction of property.

It finds that the IFP formed a pact with the SA Defence Force aimed at killing and maiming opponents and that it established hit squads within the KwaZulu police and the SA Police, to kill opponents. It also trained its supporters to prevent elections in the province in 1994.

The report finds the IFP responsible for more than one-third of the total number of human rights violations committed from 1960 to 1994, the period of the commission's mandate.

The primary perpetrator of such violations was the SA government. From the late '70s to the early '90s, it "knowingly planned, undertook, condoned and covered up" unlawful acts which included the extra-judicial killing of opponents and others, inside and outside the country.

The most influential body during most of this period was the State Security Council.

It finds that Botha, who chaired it, Defence Minister Malan, and Law and Order Minister Vlok, sanctioned the use of words such as "take out", "wipe out", "eradicate" and "eliminate", which they "did foresee" would result in the killing of political opponents.

It holds them responsible for "deliberate planning" which caused these deaths and other gross violations.

It holds Botha directly responsible for only one act, the bombing of Khotso House in Johannesburg. But it finds that as head of state and chairman of the security council, he "contributed to and facilitated" a climate in which people were killed, tortured, maimed and abducted, and arson and sabotage were committed by the police and defence force.

It finds that when Botha succeeded John Vorster as prime minister, he ordered the destruction of classified records of the police and defence force. From then on, sensitive state documents were destroyed "deliberately and systematically".

This destruction was sanctioned by both the Botha and De Klerk governments, "with the aim of denying a new government access to incriminating evidence and sanitising the history of the apartheid era", says the report.

It holds Botha, Malan, Buthelezi, former military intelligence chief Pieter Groenewald, and Vice-Admiral Andries Putter responsible for murders and injuries committed by an IFP hit squad that was trained, funded and supplied by the SADF in the Caprivi Strip in 1986.

The report finds that in 1990, senior IFP members including Prince Gideon Zulu conspired with the KwaZulu police to set up a hit squad in Esikhawini township to eliminate ANC and Cosatu activists and members of the police thought to be unsupportive of the IFP.

It finds Buthelezi and IFP MP Philip Powell responsible for the "armed resistance" of IFP supporters to the 1994 elections. Between 5 000 and 8 000 people were trained in 1993 and 1994 as part of an IFP self-protection unit project which was "a conspiracy to commit gross violations of human rights". Also named as culprits are the former KwaZulu police deputy commissioner, and a former KwaZulu police VIP unit head.

Regarding "third-force" activities in the early '90s, the commission finds that a network of SA government security and former security force members, acting with right-wing elements and sectors of the IFP, initiated, facilitated and committed gross human rights violations, including killings.

It finds that the De Klerk government "either deliberately or by omission" failed to stop these activities.

It finds that right-wing movements under the umbrella of the Afrikaner Volksfront committed gross human rights violations in 1993 and 1994 in pursuit of Afrikaner self-determination, and holds Constand Viljoen, Groenewald and Eugene Terre Blanche responsible.

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.