It was established in to house black residents who worked in Vanderbijlpark and Vereeniging. Boipatong means "the place of hiding" in the Sesotho language. Boipatong along with other surrounding townships was a pool of cheap labour for the steel industry, ISCOR. ISCOR was built mainly as part of job creation and poverty eradication for the white working class.
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In response to the massacre the ANC withdrew from the negotiations, blaming the NP government for the attack. The Boipatong massacre is one of the bloodiest and brutal moments of popular violence that engulfed South Africa in the decade between and Beginning in nearby Sebokeng and Sharpeville Townships, popular violence spread across South Africa, passing Boipatong by.
Ramaphosa accused De Klerk and the police of complicity in the massacre. Then on 20 June state President F. His heavily guarded motorcade slowly drove down Bakoena Street which divides Boipatong bungalows from Slovo Park.
The motorcade stopped in the middle of the where massacres had taken place. The angry crowd surged forward leading to confrontation with his security team. Consequently, he was compelled to stay in his vehicle. After a tense 15 minutes, De Klerk was forced to leave the area with people chasing his convoy. Subsequent to his departure, armored vehicles moved into the area. One person was shot dead by the police resulting in a confrontation between the police and the residents as the latter attempted to identify the body.
The police opened fire on the crowd forcing them to flee for cover across the veldt. I have never seen such cruelty. On 23 June the ANC NEC convened a meeting and resolved to suspend negotiations with the government citing its complicity in the massacre as the reason. The Goldstone Commission appointed to investigate political violence during the transition period tasked British criminologist Dr. Peter A.
Waddington to investigate the attack. He noted that the police investigating the massacre did not collect fingerprints, blood samples and other evidence which could assist in identifying the perpetrators and securing a successful conviction.
Despite this, his report stated that there was no evidence of police complicity or involvement in the massacre. He concluded that the South African Police SAP lacked proper investigative procedures in dealing with even sensitive cases such as the massacre.
In members of the IFP were arrested and convicted for their involvement in the massacre. About Boipatong residents and five State witnesses testified in their trial. Rather than derailing the negotiation process, the Boipatong massacre seems to have strengthened the resolve of those seeking to reach a peaceful settlement.
By their own admission they carried out the attacks as members of the IFP. In his testimony to the TRC one of the men, Vincent Khanyile claimed that the reason for the attack was revenge. Self Defense Units were organized and usually armed groups of youth formed to protect residents from hostel inmates in townships across the country.
It is believed that just as the security agencies of the apartheid state were responsible for arming vigilante groups like the IFP, SDUs were armed by 7 underground Umkhonto we Sizwe MK operatives. The IFP was an instrument used to achieve this objective. It is generally assumed that because the attackers were inmates of Kwa Madala Hostel, they had not fully integrated into local communities, they could kill with impunity. When mass action campaigns were planned, some argue, hostel inmates were not part of decision-making processes.
Police open fire on ANC supporters after they attempt to claim a body of a person shot by the police on 20 June , Photographer: Greg Marinovich, Permission: Africamediaonline.
This explanation overlooks significant developments in relations between hostel inmates and township residents in the period to In townships across South Africa interactions between hostel inmates and township residents were typically neighbourly, with both sets of communities living almost cheek by jowl with each other.
Residents of Sebokeng remember that before the hostilities broke out, they used to walk across the hostel on their way to bus and taxi ranks along Golden Highway. Residents had unrestricted access to the hostel. Similarly, hostel inmates were regular patrons in township shebeens. These regular visits often led to growing relations between hostel inmates and young women in the townships. In a few cases these relations produced children. The existence of such bonds between hostel inmates and township residents makes the brutality shown in the Boipatong massacre illogical.
The rage displayed by hostel inmates has been the subject of heated debates in townships and academic discourses. It is believed the potion numbs the warriors of any feeling of compassion for the victims. This is often used to explain why one of the attackers drove a spear through the body of a two year old toddler in the arms of his mother. Other attacks, described in the TRC are even more gruesome.
The attack on students at the University of Zululand in was carried out with the same degree of ferocity shown to residents of the Joe Slovo Informal Settlement in Boipatong. Sources suggest that the IFP was manipulated by the NP government to undermine and weaken the ANC in the months leading to the first democratic elections in April Considering the history of cordial and sometimes warm interactions between hostel inmates and township residents, this explanation appears wanting.
Township residents were themselves not a homogenous group. With the apartheid government not providing new houses in black townships in the s and s, overcrowding became inevitable. Residents erected backyard shacks as families increased numerically in the s and s before others moved out to establish homes in the burgeoning informal settlements. During the s and early in the s thousands of families were forced off the land on white commercial farms on either side of the Vaal River.
The remainder of residents at the settlement came from the white farms and small holdings on both sides of the river. This in itself is a factor in explaining the ferocity of the violence that swept through the Vaal townships in the s and s.
Conclusion This article calls for a more systematic and detailed analysis of communities that were embroiled in the popular violence of the s and s. The suggestion that supporters of the IFP were duped by the apartheid government into attacking township residents across the Witwatersrand overlooks some critical factors in the relationship between the two groups. African police fire on protesters, killing at least 1, from the Baltimore Sun, 21 June, [online], Available at articles.
Boipatong Massacre: 17 June 1992
Shortly after the massacre, it was claimed by members of the African National Congress that the South African police force in cooperation with the IFP had organised the raid, and the ANC consequently stepped out of the negotiations. Mangosuthu Buthelezi founded the party in and led it until It has been the ruling party of post-apartheid South Africa since the election of Nelson Mandela in the election, winning every election since then. Shortly before the state reconstituted itself as a republic in , the former Union Defence Force was officially succeeded by the SADF, which was established by the Defence Act of A criminal trial held in , which included testimony of Boipatong residents, convicted IFP supporters of crimes in the massacre, but ruled that the police had played no part in it. Peens had previously denied having been at Boipatong in a Casspir at all. It is a four-wheeled, four-wheel drive vehicle, used for transport of troops.
In response to the massacre the ANC withdrew from the negotiations, blaming the NP government for the attack. The Boipatong massacre is one of the bloodiest and brutal moments of popular violence that engulfed South Africa in the decade between and Beginning in nearby Sebokeng and Sharpeville Townships, popular violence spread across South Africa, passing Boipatong by. Ramaphosa accused De Klerk and the police of complicity in the massacre. Then on 20 June state President F.