Mandela warning on any violence at memorial march

 

THE South African President, Mr Nelson Mandela, said yesterday he would act to prevent violence during a march tomorrow to commemorate the killing of eight Zulus outside ANC headquarters in Johannesburg two years ago.

Police say they expect 10,000 people to take part. About 2,000 members of the security forces will be deployed. Zulu community leaders plan to march with sticks and spears through the commercial capital to mark the anniversary of the killing of the members of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

Mr Mandela has acknowledged the victims were shot dead after he ordered African National Congress guards to shoot to kill to protect their headquarters during a demonstration by the rival IFP.

At least another 42 people were killed in related unrest in and around the city on March 28th, 1994 a month before the countrys first all race elections.

Very effective precautions will have to be taken to avoid a repetition of what happened on that day. Exactly what steps will be taken is a matter under discussion with the minister of safety and security," Mr Mandela said

"I am going to keep a very close watch on the situation. We cannot continue to tolerate the type of demonstration which is a threat to the lives of innocent people," the president said.

The ANC, South Africa's party of government, said in a statement the planned march was "irresponsible and an act of provocation".

Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Zulu based IFP condemned a recent weapons ban which is specifically aimed at weapons other than firearms.

"That (ban) was really a faux pas as far as I am concerned, because the people killed are killed through firepower, through the barrel of a gun," he said.

At least 14,000 people have been killed in violence between supporters of the ANC and those of Inkatha since the mid 1980s. Since the April 1994 elections, most political bloodshed has been confined to KwaZulu Natal.