Political Violence In South Africa

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Introduction The aim of this research task is to assess the extent to which a 'third force' was responsible for the political violence in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) between 1990 and 1994. KwaZulu-Natal had been an epicentre of political violence during the 1980s, and this fighting was intensified during these transitional years. There are many theories regarding this political violence and it was initially described as "black-on-black-violence". This referred to the conflict between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) (Thotse and Grobler 2003:143). Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi was the leader of the predominantly Zulu-based IFP. He broke away from the ANC in 1979 when he was accused of being a government collaborator.(Thompson…show more content…
The death toll of political violence over these four years was higher than the death toll of the previous 42 years of the Apartheid regime. There were many differing theories in the early 1990s regarding the origin of the violence that was responsible for the widespread devastation. The theory that dominated public opinion between 1990 and June 1991 - prior to the Boipatong massacres - was that of "black-on-black" violence. This version alleged that the violence took place within black communities and maintained that the political rivalry and the battle to establish political support bases between the ANC and the IFP was responsible for the violence. This theory also blamed the ethnic rivalry between the predominantly Xhosa ANC and the predominantly Zulu IFP as the cause of the political violence. However, the ANC was dedicated to a non-racial position and, Sparks maintains, the Zulu and the Xhosa ethnic groups did not have a history of conflict.(Sparks 1994:163). This view of "black-on-black" violence was propagated by the National Party to the South African at large, as well as by International media, and was used to show that South Africa was not ready for democratic governance.(Thotse and Grobler 2003:144). De Klerk also noted that the ANC was the "common denominator" in the violence in South Africa.(Thotse and Grobler
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