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The "Third Force" was a term used by leaders of the ANC during the late 1980s and early 1990s to refer to an unknown group believed to be responsible for a surge in violence in KwaZulu-Natal, and townships around and south of the Witwatersrand (or "Rand").[1]

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) would find that:

while little evidence exists of a centrally directed, coherent or formally constituted ‘Third Force’, a network of security and ex-security force operatives, frequently acting in conjunction with right-wing elements and/or sectors of the IFP, was involved in actions that could be construed as fomenting violence and which resulted in gross human rights violations, including random and target killings.[2]

See also


  1. Simpson, Graeme; Rauch, Janine (1993), "Political Violence: 1991" ([dead link]Scholar search), Human Rights Yearbook (Cape Town: Oxford University Press) 1992: 212–239,
  2. "Section 4 Appendix: The ‘Third Force’", Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report, 6, 2003, pp. 584,
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