Mandela plea for calm falls on deaf ears: Soweto sees worst of SA violence in wake of Hani assassination

OBSCENE photographs of Chris Hani's blood-drenched, bullet- smashed body were splattered across the front pages of yesterday's South African newspapers in dramatic contrast to the editorials inside, which appealed piously for a restrained popular response to the tragedy.

Some sectors of the community appear to have responded more to the pictures than to the words. In incidents directly responding to the assassination of the ANC and Communist Party leader, police opened fire on angry crowds in two squatter camps near Johannesburg, killing, according to conflicting reports, between one and five people.

In Tembisa township, also near Johannesburg, a police sergeant was shot dead in his vehicle and, in a chilling reminder of an incident two weeks ago in which a mother and two children were killed, gunmen twice opened fire on white motorists - though, in these instances, no one was hurt.

Nelson Mandela, in a televised address to an anxious nation on Saturday, had appealed 'with all the authority at my command . . . to all our people to remain calm and honour the memory of Chris Hani by remaining a disciplined force for peace'.

At Chicken Farm squatter camp, in Soweto, where reporters saw the dead body of one man, Winnie Mandela led a group gathered to honour Hani in shouts of 'murderers' directed at the police.

The police version of what happened in Chicken Farm, which President F W de Klerk repeated in an interview yesterday on BBC radio, was that police on the scene had been shot at by the demonstrators and had returned fire. The police, who at first said the only victim had been a woman wounded in the hand, later confirmed a death. Winnie Mandela was reported to have intervened to prevent a number of people from being driven off in a police van.

Numerous other clashes between ANC supporters and police were reported in other parts of the country, but none of them proved fatal. Appeals for calm from Mr Mandela and President de Klerk appeared to have prevented disruption on an even wider scale. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for example, had warned on Saturday that the country could go up in flames.

The real test will come on Wednesday, classified yesterday by the ANC secretary-general, Cyril Ramaphosa, as a national day of mourning, when demonstrations and strikes are expected nationwide. A date, he said, had not yet been set for Hani's funeral, an occasion also certain to stretch the ANC's capacity to restrain the emotions of its more belligerent followers.

One factor working in favour of the ANC leadership, who fear delays in the negotiations process, was the unusual success of the South African police in apprehending the chief suspect within half an hour of the crime on Saturday morning.

The police indicated yesterday that they were confident Janusz Jakob Walus, a fiercely anti-Communist Polish emigre, was the man who fired the four bullets that killed Hani, general-secretary of the South African Communist Party and former chief of staff of the ANC's military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation).

A police spokesman, Brigadier Frans Malherbe, said ballistic tests on firearms confiscated from Mr Walus, who is believed to have links with far- right political groups, had shown conclusively that one of his weapons had fired the fatal shots. The police also confirmed that residue tests on Mr Walus's hands had indicated he had used a gun on Saturday morning.

ANC officials said yesterday, however, that, contrary to police reports, they suspected more than one person had been involved in the assassination plot.

Mr Mandela said at yesterday's press conference the police had already failed on one score. He revealed the ANC's deputy president, Walter Sisulu, had written last year to the Minister of Law and Order, Hernus Kriel, asking that special protection be afforded Hani, who was known to be high on the far right's death lists. No such assistance was provided.

It also emerged that no ANC official, not even Mr Mandela, received any special protection on a regular basis from the police - although, as the Communist Party chairman, Joe Slovo, noted, they did receive 'special police surveillance'.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Head of Offshore Operations & Interfaces

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Offshore Engineering Design Manager

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Offshore Wind Grid Connection Specialist

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

SEN Science Teacher

£21804 - £31868 per annum + SEN allowance: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are ...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices