15 die in Natal election attack

FIFTEEN young Zulu supporters of the African National Congress were massacred just after midnight yesterday, 11 of them in their beds, because the they planned to teach local people how to vote in preparation for South Africa's first democratic elections in April, writes John Carlin.

Four gunmen suspected of being aligned to Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party burst into a hut in a village in southern Natal, speared some sleeping youths and fired on others with automatic rifles. Three died outside the hut attempting to escape. The police said that some of the youths had died from stab wounds, and two more were seriously wounded.

The attack came hours before Chief Buthelezi reiterated his determination not to take part in the elections. Earlier in the week he rejected a series of dramatic constitutional concessions made by Nelson Mandela, the ANC president.

Only a week ago the Inkatha leader, who has always portrayed himself as a champion of the black liberation struggle, had entreated his supporters to do battle against the ANC, the certain winners of the elections. 'We must defend and fight back,' he declared.

Yesterday's attack was an indication that the four men who carried out the midnight massacre had taken him at his word. The area where the killings took place had been quiet in recent months.

Until two weeks ago, the same was said about the Natal town of Newcastle, before gunmen went on the rampage in an ANC area killing 12 people. And last month in northern Natal the house of a Zulu chief loyal to the ANC was also attacked, leaving 11 people dead.

The fear in Natal, where the Zulu population has been engaged in a low-level civil war for the past eight years, is that yesterday's massacre was a taste of things to come.

Natal, within whose borders lies the Inkatha fiefdom of KwaZulu, is the only part of the country where Chief Buthelezi commands significant support. None the less, the polls have indicated that the majority of Zulus will vote for the ANC and give Mr Mandela's party a clear majority, both nationally and in the election for the Natal provincial parliament.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor