Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

No Natal peace until detainees freed, says UDF

United Democratic Front leaders in Pietermaritzburg say they cannot hold out any promise of an end to the violence in the local townships until their detained members are released.

However, AS Chetty, who chairs the Natal Midlands branch of the UDF, said it was possible that "ripple effects" of this week's initial talks between Inkatha/United Workers' Union of South Africa and the UDF/Congress of South African Trade Unions could filter down and help calm tempers in the townships. Chetty said their detained members were figures in the townships.  "At the meeting we, jointly with Inkatha, made a very heavy demand that these members be released."

Chetty was one of a group of local leaders whose organisations are involved in the violence. Their first round of talks this week was chaired by officials of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Commerce. Following the meeting, an official statement was released by the chamber, as all parties had agreed not to make independent statements. 

Chamber officials said the parties had agreed to a joint can for the release from detention of members of the organisations which are party to the talks. They also agreed with the principle that the groups should be able to meet their constituencies without interference from the security forces. All involved endorsed the "principles of freedom of expression" and agreed to take disciplinary action against members who violated this.

While there were issues on which agreement was not reached, Chamber officials said they were optimistic about the progress that was made and a date has been set for the next talks. However, in spite of this optimism the violence and killings have continued, with official reports of four deaths since Tuesday.

Youths are still living in church and community halls in and around Durban after fleeing their homes earlier this month to escape the violence. At one stage there were over 120 youngsters – some of them only 11 – who fled their homes, saying they feared for their lives because of threats by Inkatha.  

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.


M&G Newspaper

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Carmel Rickard
Guest Author

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

Tigrayans are starving to death

The famine that was feared has come to pass, and aid just isn’t getting in

How to game Twitter’s algorithm – and hoodwink journalists

It is possible to convince newsrooms looking for a topical story that something is news when it isn’t, to dangerous effect

We will do better, ANC president Ramaphosa says in corrective...

At the ANC’s manifesto launch, Cyril Ramaphosa promised to reduce unemployment, increase social security, and stamp out corruption in the party

Young and jobless? Apply for one of 287 000 education...

Education department urges young, jobless people to apply for teaching assistant vacancies

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…