Reflections on the conduct of the South African Police (SAP) and violent political conflict, CA. 1984-1989

  • Jan-Ad Stemmet University of the Free State, South Africa
Keywords: Apartheid South Africa, Political violence, South African Police, Louis le Grange, Magnus Malan, States of Emergency, Torture, Kitskonstabels, Third Force, 1980s, Apartheid Suid-Afrika, Politieke geweld, Suid-Afrikaanse Polisie, Noodtoestande, Marteling, Derde Mag


During the 1980s, political violence had the best of the South African landscape. While the minority regime struggled to find a political solution, it simultaneously employed its vast security complex to suppress the upheavals. The South African Police, naturally, represented the apartheid-state’s immediate mechanism. The carnage was unprecedented in scope and severity. As such the South African Police, bolstered by draconian security legislation, utilized unprecedented means in quashing opposition. The article aims to address certain aspects of the police’s conduct during this time. It should, however, be taken into account that an in-depth analysis of police conduct during the 1980s cannot be undertaken in a single article.


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