Today In History: Shell House Massacre

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On March 28, 1994, about 20 000 Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters marched to Shell House, the headquarters of the African National Congress (ANC), in central Johannesburg, in protest against the 1994 elections, which at that stage the IFP was intending to boycott.

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The numbers vary according to media reports with some reports saying 8 and others 19, people lost their lives outside the ANC HQ and in the nearby Library Gardens and 55 more died in-and-around Johannesburg during that march.

Judge RW Nugent conducted an inquest into the deaths. Media. Here’s an excerpt from his inquest. “At the commencement of the inquest close to a thousand sworn statements and other documents were placed before me in terms of s.5 of the Act. By far the majority of those statements have turned out to have been inaccurate and unreliable in varying degrees, and even where this was not intended their effect was often to be misleading. What they presented seemed initially to be little more than a web of contradictory and unrelated facts. In addition to those statements we now have before us the oral evidence of some eighty witnesses, in a record of nearly 8000 pages; considerable further documentary evidence; and some forty hours of videotape footage which is not in any sequential order.
The quantity of evidence which we have before us though is in inverse proportion to its quality. Apart from its sheer volume, the assessment of the evidence has presented particular difficulties in the present case. In our view what has been central to the difficulties which have been posed in this regard has been the manner and the extent to which the deaths which occurred on 28 March 1994 were initially investigated.
Neither the police nor the ANC nor the IFP are free from blame for the inadequacies of the investigation insofar as it related to the responsibility of the personnel or members of each of them for the deaths which occurred on that day. There was no meaningful investigation at all by the police into the role of its own members in relation to the deaths which occurred in the vicinity of Library Gardens. The investigation into the conduct of ANC personnel was frustrated by the withholding of information”. http://www.politicsweb.co.za/documents/shell-house-massacre-march-28-1994-the-inquest-fin

Here’s a link to an article by SAPA on Gary John Kruser, 37, who was deputy head of security in the African National Congress’ intelligence and security department when the Inkatha Freedom Party supporters marched on the ANC headquarters at Shell House on that fateful day.

Kruser is one of 13 ANC security staff members applying for amnesty for the shooting in which eight people died and 84 were injured. http://www.justice.gov.za/trc/media%5C1998%5C9805/s980510c.htm

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