An ally of the ANC who became its deadly enemy

JOHANNESBURG (Reuter) - In less than three years as military ruler of South Africa's Ciskei 'homeland', Brigadier Joshua Oupa Gqozo has gone from being darling of the African National Congress to being its mortal enemy.

Brigadier Gqozo, 40, started work as a prison warder in South Africa and joined the South African Defence Force in 1977. Three years later he resigned to join the defence force in Ciskei, one of four black 'homelands' to accept nominal independence from Pretoria, which created the 'homelands' as part of its now-abandoned policy of racial separation.

He was installed as leader in a coup on 4 March, 1990, while the Ciskei chief minister, Lennox Sebe, was away in Hong Kong. At mass rallies after the coup Brigadier Gqozo announced his intention to end Ciskei's separate status in line with ANC policy to bring the 'homelands' back into South Africa. The movement condemns black 'homelands' as puppet creations of apartheid governments. In the following months he appeared in public with officials of the ANC and its ally, the South African Communist Party, both of which have strong support in the region. By the end of 1990, Brigadier Gqozo and the ANC were at each other's throats.

He accused the ANC of involvement in a failed coup against him in January last year and nine months later declared a state of emergency 'because of ANC arson and terrorism'. In July last year he formed a political party called the African Democratic Movement to 'represent the silent majority of Southern Africa on a moderate basis'. It was for those 'who do not want to toyi toyi and jump around raising flags and AK-47s', he said, referring to the ANC liberation dance.

A former Ciskei intelligence chief, Gert Hugo, said last month that South African military intelligence had bolstered Brigadier Gqozo as a bulwark against the ANC. The ANC had targeted Brigadier Gqozo for removal as part of a mass action campaign launched in July with the aim of bringing down President F W de Klerk.

(Photograph omitted)