Kabasa (South Africa)

Country: South Africa
Details of Formation: Transformed from a gang that specialized in breaking into houses and stealing cars into a PGM assisting the police in fighting leftist extremists. (Kabasa was formed to fight members of the Leaks Youth Movement (Leyomo), supporters of the ANC-aligned United Democratic Front)
Details of Termination: In the late 1980s, state support for Kabasa officially ended. The Kabasa gangs continued to be active and still enjoyed protection from the police. The group was linked to the apartheid government and therefore is coded terminated after 1994. Three gang members/leaders allegedly terrorised businessmen in 1996 by trying to eliminate business competition, and no longer aiming at political gains.
Purpose: Initially, the purpose of Kabasa was to oppose anti-apartheid activists. They rigorously pursued this purpose in practice. In some self-governing black homelands, they acted as paramilitary auxiliaries preventing any government critics and dissidence to homeland authorities. Relative benefits of the Kabasa were that they were more effective than police and army, and that they made the violence appear to be rivalries between blacks, instead of oppression by the white-led government. They were also used to commit violence where regular security forces were restrained by law and public opinion.
Organisation: Kabasa has ties with the police who gives them weapons, and at least in one case, incorporated them into the local security force. In urban areas, Kabasa are often associated with government-appointed community councils. The Kabasa gang was run by five heavy-weight black businessmen.
Weapons and Training: In Queenstown, a group of vigilante was incorporated into the local security force and given military training. Police gave Kabasa members tear gas, automatic weapons and grenades.
Size: --
Reason for Membership: Some members were encouraged to join by police who offered to drop charges against them.
Treatment of Civilians: Kabasa often killed civilians, especially anti-apartheid activists. Actions against activists included whippings and setting fire on their houses. In th March 1986 murder investigations were opened following their killings, later sources speak of virtual impunity of the perpetrators and active encouragement by police.
Other Information: The Kabasa are also known as “A-Team” and “The Green Berets”.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD