Police raided worker hostels and squatter camps Saturday in an effort to halt chronic violence that has killed more than 100 people in a week.
Officials said the raids were at the request of the African National Congress, which has set a deadline of Thursday for specific government steps on halting the carnage in black townships.Workers hostels have been flashpoints for the chronic fighting in black townships. The single-sex dormitories house migrant workers, often Zulus from their traditional homeland in Natal Province.
Most of the township fighting, which has killed more than 600 people this year, pits ANC supporters against rivals from the Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party. Both groups oppose apartheid but differ on the policies of a future non-racial South Africa.
In an ultimatum issued last month, the ANC threatened to quit efforts to set up a multiparty conference to draft a new constitution if the government failed to respond satisfactorily to its demands by Thursday's deadline.
Violence has increased in the days leading up to the deadline. The ultimatum demands included:
-The resignations of Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok and Defense Minister Gen. Magnus Malan, who oversee security forces;
-A ban on the carrying of dangerous weapons in public;
-Eliminating or converting the worker hostels.
President F.W. de Klerk rejected the sacking of Vlok and Malan, but has proposed a multiparty conference on violence later this month and creation of a standing commission to investigate political violence.
The ANC expressed disappointment at the proposals and said it would boycott the proposed May 24-25 conference on violence.