Girl Killed By Grenade Thrown Into Room; Students in Clash
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A 5-year-old black girl asleep in the home of a town councilor was killed by a hand grenade thrown through the window, the government said today.
The government’s Bureau for Information also said police used tear gas and birdshot today to disperse about 500 stone-throwing black students at a school in Soweto, Johannesburg’s main black township.
The bureau said no one was hurt, but the South African Press Association quoted unidentified witnesses as saying several pupils were injured and one may have been killed.
The grenade attack took place Sunday night in Imbali, a black township near Pietermaritzburg, at the home of town councilor Austin Kwejama, the bureau said. It said Sipho Kazi, 5, was killed and her 12-year-old sister injured, but did not say if the two girls were related to Kwejama.
The attack was the second fatal assault on the home of a black official in Natal province within 48 hours.
On Friday night, the wife of a member of the KwaZulu homeland legislature was killed at home in a grenade and rifle attack.
Anti-apartheid activists widely view black town councils as tools of the white-led central government. Councilors have been frequent targets of attacks.
The information bureau also said a black man was killed early today when his house in Langa township, in eastern Cape province, was set afire.
In another development, a Pretoria Supreme Court arranged to hear testimony today from two doctors who on Friday examined the Rev. Smangoliso Mkhatshwa, a black priest held in detention for 10 weeks.
A court affidavit says Mkhatshwa, general secretary of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, was forced to stand blindfolded for 20 hours during interrogation and later had trouble walking, the City Press, a newspaper for Johannesburg’s black community, reported.
City Press said lawyers for Mkhatshwa applied for a court order to restrain police from what the lawyers said would be further assault or torture of their client.
Mkhatshwa has been in detention since a national state of emergency was declared June 12.
More than 250 people have died in unrest since then and more than 8,500 people, according to government account, have been detained.
Emergency rules prohibit journalists from publishing ″subversive statements″ and revealing the names of people detained. The emergency decree bans most public gatherings and gives police the power to detain people without charge.
The unrest stems from opposition to apartheid, which by law and custom establishes a racially segregated society in South Africa in which the 24 million black majority has no vote in national affairs. The 5 million whites control the economy and keep separate districts, schools and health services.
In Soweto, thousands of students boycotted classes last week to protest the presence of troops on school grounds, but a local reporter said most of them returned to class today.
The Department of Education and Training, which oversees black education, said today troops would be withdrawn from schools only when the situation there ″stabilizes.″
Also today, J.C. Schoeman, a Parliament member representing a district north of Johannesburg, denounced a tentative government proposal to establish a new township in the area for 250,000 blacks.
Schoeman, a member of the far-right Conservative Party, called the proposal ″reckless in the extreme″ and said such a project would contribute to air and water pollution, lower property values and pose a security threat.
Deputy Finance Minister Kent Durr meanwhile described as ″utter lunacy″ a report in a London newspaper that Pretoria might seize the assets of British companies operating in South Africa in retaliation against sanctions.
Durr dismissed on Sunday as ″wicked disinformation″ a report in the Sunday Express report which said South Africa was ″poised to nationalize″ British companies.
The newspaper attributed its information to unidentified businessmen.