SA police generals supplied arms to Inkatha

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THREE senior police officers headed a conspiracy to arm supporters of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party, to provoke violence and try to derail South Africa's transition to democracy, according to evidence revealed by an independent commission.

Announcing the commission's findings in Pretoria, President F W de Klerk described the conspiracy as a 'horrible network of criminal activity'. He said he was sending the three generals - deputy police commissioner General Basie Smit, Major-General Krappies Engelbrecht and Lieutenant-General Johan le Roux - on leave. An interim report by the commission led by Justice Richard Goldstone did not contain enough evidence to arrest the generals, but an international task force would investigate the allegations.

The commission's findings were realeased as the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, issued a virtual declaration of war by proclaiming an independent Zulu kingdom and urging his followers to boycott South Africa's first all-race general elections on 26-28 April.

The inquiry's findings were the biggest blow to Chief Buthelezi's mainly Zulu IFP since the 'Inkathagate' scandal of 1991, when a secret fund for Inkatha rallies, administered by the Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, was discovered.

Much of the evidence in the new report came from an unnamed police officer, identified only as 'Q'. The report said the generals had been involved in manufacturing home-made weapons for Chief Buthelezi's IFP to fight supporters of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress in the volatile townships near Johannesburg. IFP members were also trained in the use of weapons and grenades. 'Q' said some former members of a police unit stationed at Vlakplaas near Pretoria still operated hit squads.

Other weapons were brought from Koevoet, the special counter-insurgency unit used by the South African Defence Force in Namibia and Mozambique, and were distributed to Inkatha members.

The report accused the IFP's Transvaal regional chairman, Themba Khoza, and the former Commissioner of the Kwazulu Police, General Jac Buchner, of involvement in the affair. Members of the East Rand Murder and Robbery Unit and Durban Security Branch were also implicated.

Zulus shun peace talks, page 13