Another 'homeland' caves in

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The Independent Online
JOHANNESBURG - The Ciskei government, one of the last remnants of apartheid, collapsed last night when Brigadier Oupa Gqozo, dictator of the 'homeland', resigned, writes John Carlin.

Brigadier Gqozo, who until last month had backed the far right against next month's elections, bowed out after South African troops arrived to restore order after a strike by the 'homeland' police. The fall of the brigadier, who came to power in a coup four years ago, was less ignominious than that of his erstwhile ally, Lucas Mangope, who was forced out of the presidency of Bophuthatswana 10 days ago.

After hundreds of policemen went on strike and took five senior officers hostage, Brigadier Gqozo contacted the South African government, asked for the army to come in and announced that his political career was over.

In an interview last night with Johannesburg's Radio 702 he said he had seen the writing on the wall and, to avert bloodshed, he had done 'the responsible thing' and resigned.

Last night the Transitional Executive Council ratified Brigadier Gqozo's decision, transferring Ciskei, like Bophuthatswana, to full South African control. Most Ciskeians support the ANC and opposed his decision in October to join forces, under the banner of the Freedom Alliance, with Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party and the white far right. The brigadier's departure has formalised the collapse of the right-wing alliance and further isolated Chief Buthelezi.