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06 Oct 2000 00:00
Piers Pigou Apartheid assassin Ferdi Barnard’s revelations before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) amnesty committee this week about destabilisation before the 1994 election have again raised questions about the extent of security force participation in the Boipatong massacre. Barnard claimed that hitmen provided guns to Zulu hostel dwellers to carry out a series of massacres across the Reef, including the Boipatong massacre in which more than 40 residents of the small Vaal Triangle township were murdered in June 1992 by Inkatha Freedom Party supporters from the nearby KwaMadala hostel.
In startling new evidence Barnard testified that several days before the massacre he was informed that guns would be given to KwaMadala residents for an attack on the African National Congress.
With the exception of the Boipatong hearings, the only other attention given to the violence in the Vaal Triangle region was a week of Human Rights Violation Committee hearings during 1997. Although an epicentre of repression during the mid-1980s and early 1990s, only three policemen from the Vaal have applied for amnesty. All were implicated by former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock and others for falsifying evidence when the late IFP Youth Brigade leader Themba Khoza and others were caught at the Sebokeng hostel in September 1990, in possession of guns and hand grenades provided by the Vlakplaas unit. This week former security policeman Paul Erasmus said he had also handed on illegal weapons to the security police’s counter- revolutionary “C” section in late 1990 and early 1991 and that there was a directive for all “skelm wapens” to be directed to De Kock’s unit. It was common knowledge, Erasmus said, that these weapons were intended for the IFP. Erasmus is due to appear before the amnesty committee later this month. Whatever decision is taken regarding the Boipatong massacre, the amnesty committee cannot claim that the matter has been properly investigated and allegations of security force involvement disproved. As with many other matters brought before the TRC, no significant inquiry has ever been conducted. The allegations of Barnard - and others - suggest that further investigation is indeed warranted. Piers Pigou is a former TRC investigator
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