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Shell House massacre

Shell House massacre
Part of South African general election, 1994
Date 28 March 1994
Location Shell House, Johannesburg
Result Amnesty granted to 11 people
Inkatha Freedom Party African National Congress
20,000-50,000[1] ?
Casualties and losses
19-53[2] dead 0 dead

The Shell House massacre refers to a 1994 shooting incident that took place at the headquarters of the African National Congress (ANC), in central Johannesburg, South Africa in the lead up to the 1994 elections.


  • Description 1
  • Aftermath 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Shell House (not to be confused with Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters marched to Shell House in protest against the 1994 elections that the IFP was intending to boycott.

ANC security guards opened fire, killing nineteen people.[3] At the time, guards claimed that the IFP supporters were storming the building, or that they had received a tip-off that this was planned. The Nugent Commission of Inquiry into the killings rejected this explanation. The commission's conclusion was that the shooting by ANC guards was unjustified.

This incident reflected the rising tensions between the ANC and IFP, which had begun in the 1980s in KwaZulu-Natal and had then spread to other provinces in the 1990s. The IFP claimed that the ANC was intent on undermining traditional authorities and the power of Zulu Chiefs; the ANC saw it as a power struggle as the demise of apartheid was finalised.


The incident triggered a state of emergency across eleven magisterial districts in the East Rand, as well as the whole of the Kwazulu-Natal province.[4]

In June 1995, ANC and then President Nelson Mandela claimed that he had given the order to defend Shell House, even if it should require killing people.[5] In 1995 Willem Ratte laid a charge of murder against president Nelson Mandela at the police headquarters in Pretoria[6] for the Shell House Massacre.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission granted amnesty to 11 people concerning the massacre.

See also


  1. ^ Shell House Counter attack that was deadly Mail & Guardian, 9 June 1995
  2. ^ Presentation by his Majesty King Zwelithini Goodwillka Bhekuzulu, King of the Zulu Nation to Mr. Nelson Mandela, President of the African National Congress, 8/04/94 South African Government Information
  3. ^ "Police say IFP negligence led to massacre". Dispatch Online. October 16, 1997. p. 2. Archived from the original on February 17, 2005. 
  4. ^ du Toit, Pierre (1995). State Building and Democracy in Southern Africa: Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. US Institute of Peace Press.  
  5. ^
  6. ^ Printer, Government; Government Printer (1996). "Debates of the National Assembly (Hansard)". Issues 10-12 (10-12). p. 3295. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 

External links

  • AfricaFiles homepage
  • Dispatch Online
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Inkatha Freedom Party homepage
  • Sunday Times - Print Edition
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