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Mandela to Meet With De Klerk on Township Violence

January 10, 1994

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Police raided a worker hostel today in search of the gunmen who killed a journalist covering an ANC tour, but Nelson Mandela demanded broader measures from President F.W. de Klerk to quell township violence.

The ANC leader was to discuss the violence with de Klerk on Tuesday.

Abdul Shariff, 31, a South African free-lance photographer on assignment for The Associated Press, was shot and killed Sunday in Katlehong, one of South Africa’s most violent townships. Two other journalists were injured in the battle that began after shots were fired from a workers’ hostel in Katlehong, and police shot to death a township resident.

Residents said at least two other people also were injured in the shooting.

ANC Secretary-General Cyril Ramaphosa and Communist Party chief Joe Slovo, who had led a peace delegation into Katlehong, were whisked to safety after the shooting broke out. They later continued their tour.

Hours after the shooting, Mandela, appearing on a national television program, said de Klerk had assured him he would investigate the latest incident in an area that sees almost daily murders linked to political rivalries. Mandela said he would meet with de Klerk to present ″a specific proposal″ for coping with the violence.

Mandela would not elaborate. In the past, the African National Congress has called for worker hostels to be closed down or sealed off by army troops. On Saturday, Mandela said de Klerk has previously agreed to but never carried out a plan to seal off the hostels.

Mandela said Sunday that if de Klerk did not act on his proposal, ″then South Africa is facing a crisis.″

De Klerk said today that the Goldstone Commission, an independent body charged with finding ways to halt unrest, would investigate the shooting. De Klerk also confirmed that he and Mandela would discuss the incident.

Sunday’s shooting ″shows in a very clear manner how the people in that area live,″ Mandela said. The tour by Ramaphosa and Slovo was meant to highlight the violence and encourage township residents to refrain from attacking each other.

Political fighting across South Africa killed more than 3,000 blacks last year, including 1,200 in Katlehong and the neighboring Thokoza township.

Much of the violence is linked to a feud between ANC supporters and supporters of the group’s main rival, the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party.

Inkatha draws its support largely from hostel dwellers, many of whom are Zulus brought from hundreds of miles away to work in mines and factories in the Johannesburg area. The conditions in the hostels, bleak barracks where women and children are not allowed, contribute to the anger, fear and frustration of the residents.

The police have been largely powerless against the chaos. They raided Mazibuko hostel, believed to be the source of Sunday’s initial shots, early today, almost 12 hours after the attack, after preparing carefully to enter the heavily armed stronghold.

″It’s not for 75 people to rush into that hostel and try to search it,″ regional commander Gen. Koos Calitz said Sunday. ″They will kill all the policemen.″

The hostel was believed to house more than 2,000 people.

One man was arrested and arms including a rifle, gas bombs and a homemade revolver were confiscated in today’s pre-dawn raid, police said. Township residents had accused hostel dwellers of attacking them with rifles.

Shariff’s body was taken to a cemetery today after a ceremony at a mosque in Pietermaritzburg, his parents’ home in the eastern province of Natal.

Shariff, who was single, was born in Verulam in Natal. He became a news photographer after studying at the University of Natal-Pietermaritzburg and worked for several newspapers and news agencies.

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