Conflict

After the Boipatong Massacre and the breakdown of negotiations at CODESA II, the ANC took to the streets with a programme of "rolling mass action".

In September 1992, a crowd of about 80 000 people gathered in Bisho to protest against the Ciskei "homelandÁƒÂ¢Á¢Â‚¬ government of Brigadier Oupa Gqozo. Ciskei troops and the South African Defence Force opened fire on the protesters, killing 28 people.

Ronnie Kasrils, at the time a high ranking ANC cadre, remembers the event as follows:

"It was . just after 12 on one such hot, sunny day, when 80 000 of us came over the hill from King William's Town, saying 'no more slavery'. The police helicopter was high in the sky. Gqozo gave the order of the apartheid masters from that building [the present legislature] to open fire and our people's blood was spilled, blood that nourishes the tree of freedom."

- Source: buffalocity.gov.za

fter massacres at Boipatong and Bisho, the Goldstone Commission of Inquiry was set up to investigate the violence. The Goldstone Commission found that the clashes were not only between the ANC and the IFP but that the government had played a role in the form of the covert operation of the Third Force, which consisted of apartheid power stakeholders who actively opposed a non-racial democracy in South Africa.

This violence in the country brought new urgency to the search for a political settlement. Another risk to negotiations was right wing resistance.

The right-wing was demanding an independent Afrikaner province or Volkstaat and the recognition of Afrikaans as the main official language. An impending change of Government raised fears that the minority Afrikaner identity, social standing and way of life would be lost within a racially integrated state. The AWB, the CP and the VF launched a number of protests and threatened war.