Goldstone Commission Blames ANC, Inkatha for Black-Area Violence
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A commission probing political clashes in some of the country’s most violent areas laid blame Wednesday for the bloodshed on rival black groups and rejected claims of orchestrated police involvement.
It was the second time the Goldstone Commission has dismissed allegations by the African National Congress that security forces waged a campaign of violence in black areas.
The commission said some security force members were guilty of misconduct but there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone.
Scores of witnesses have testified before the Goldstone Commission, which was appointed by the government last year to seek causes of political unrest that has killed thousands of blacks.
Judge Richard Goldstone, the commission leader, said the main cause was the feud between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party, who have been fighting for power in black townships since the mid-1980s.
″Even if the allegations against members of the security forces prove to be justified, such misconduct would not have been possible but for the ongoing battle between the ANC and IFP,″ he said in a statement.
The ANC, which supported establishment of the independent commission, had no immediate reaction, said spokesman Saki Macozoma.
Inkatha spokeswoman Suzanne Vos supported the findings: ″I think he’s got his finger on the pulse.″
The report dealt with violence plaguing eastern Natal province and the Johannesburg area, including the volatile townships of Soweto and Alexandra.
In February, a report on the Mooi River area of Natal also cleared security forces of an orchestrated campaign of violence.
″We feel absolutely vindicated,″ said Capt. Craig Kotze, a spokesman for the Law and Order ministry.
Goldstone said investigations were continuing into violence in other areas but that only the ANC and Inkatha had the power to bring peace.
The latest report came as a surprise. Several subcommittees set up by Goldstone to investigate specific cases of violence recently criticized police behavior.
In addition, five police officers were convicted last month of politically motivated murders, and several soldiers are accused of staging a brutal raid in a black squatter camp in April. Police are investigating allegations they assaulted residents of the squatter camp.
The ANC says it’s the government’s responsibility to curb violence. Goldstone’s statement is likely to increase tensions between the ANC and government.
More than 10,000 blacks have died in political violence since 1984. Political leaders, including President F.W. de Klerk, ANC leader Nelson Mandela and Inkatha leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi signed an accord in September committing themselves to peace, but angry rhetoric and clashes have continued.
In a related development, former President P.W. Botha refuted Wednesday a lawmaker’s allegations that security forces killed more than 1,000 black activists during his 10-year rule.
Jan van Eck, an independent parliamentarian who also belongs to the ANC, said Tuesday his information came from sources in military intelligence.
Van Eck did not name his sources or provide additional details.
Botha refused to comment directly on the allegations but said, ″If crimes were committed during my regime, this can be reported to the authorities.″ Botha resigned in 1989.
Opposition groups have long blamed the white-led government for unsolved killings of black activists. But the figure of 1,000 deaths is far greater than any previous claim.