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1989 in South Africa

South Africa

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The following lists events that happened during 1989 in South Africa.



  • 8 – The African National Congress announces that it will start dismantling its guerrilla camps in Angola in support of the peace process.
  • 18 – State President P.W. Botha has a mild stroke.
  • 19 – Chris Heunis, Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, is appointed Acting State President.
  • An Eskom sub-station in Glenwood, Durban is damaged by an explosion and police later defuses a second bomb found nearby.
  • An explosion occurs at the home in Benoni of the chair of the Ministers Council in the House of Delegates.
  • An explosion occurs at an aircraft factory in Ciskei.
  • Two municipal police members are killed in a grenade attack on Katlehong's Municipal Police Station.
  • 2 – An ailing State President Pieter Willem Botha steps down from the leadership of the National Party, but remains state president.
  • Trevor Manuel is released from detention under stringent restriction orders.
  • An explosion at a municipal police barracks in Soweto injures four policemen.
  • An explosion next to a police parade in Katlehong kills a municipal constable and injures nine others.
  • A limpet mine explodes at the home of the commander of the Katlehong Police Station, Col. D. Dlamini.
  • 2 – SWAPO violates the border war cease-fire by invading South West Africa from Angola and nearly 300 are killed.
  • Four bystanders are injured when a limpet mine explodes under a police vehicle in Duduza.
  • A limpet mine explodes under a vehicle parked outside a policeman's home in Tsakane.
  • A grenade is thrown at a police patrol in Tsakane.
  • A limpet mine explodes in a rubbish bin outside the home of a policeman in Soweto.
  • A bomb shatters the windows of KwaThema Police station's dining hall.
  • A limpet mine explodes at the Police single quarters in Ratanda.
  • A limpet mine explodes at the home of Boetie Abramjee, a National Party MP.
  • 15 – P.W. Botha resigns and F.W. de Klerk succeeds him as acting State President.[1]
  • A grenade is thrown into a Labour Party polling station in Bishop Lavis.
  • The Brixton Flying Squad HQ is attacked with hand grenades and AK-47s.
  • Lt-Col. Frank Zwane, a former liaison officer for the police, and his two sons are injured in a grenade attack in Soweto.
  • An explosion occurs at the Athlone Police Station.
  • 2 – "Purple Rain Protest" rioters in Greenmarket Square, Cape Town are sprayed with a purple dye. The resulting graffiti, "The purple shall govern" graces the pages of newspapers worldwide.
  • 20 – F.W. de Klerk becomes the 9th State President of South Africa.[1]
  • A police patrol is ambushed by cadres (terrorists) in Katlehong.
  • A mini-limpet mine explodes outside the Mamelodi Police station.
  • Parliamentary elections are held and the National Party wins again.
  • 100,000 people attend a peace march called by Cape Town city mayor Gordon Oliver in conjunction with religious leaders.
  • A bomb explodes outside the BP centre in Cape Town and another at Woodstock minutes later.[4]
  • 27 – The Hex River Tunnels system is officially opened. The system's longest tunnel at 13.5 kilometres (8.4 miles) long is the longest railway tunnel in Africa.[5][6]
Unknown date








  1. ^ a b c d A Guide for Study of Historical Offices: South Africa: Heads of State: 1961-1994 (Accessed on 14 April 2017)
  2. ^ [] Suspected ANC guerrillas attack radar base
  3. ^ Blast Opposite Athlone Magistrate’s Court and Police Complex Kills Two.
  4. ^ Knight, Robin. "BP in SA in the final decade of apartheid - OPINION". Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  5. ^ South African Panorama, October 1989, p. 25
  6. ^ The World's longest Railway Tunnels
  7. ^ Information supplied by Phil Girdlestone
  8. ^ Paxton, Leith; Bourne, David (1985). Locomotives of the South African Railways (1st ed.). Cape Town: Struik. pp. 109–110. ISBN 0869772112.
  9. ^ South African Railways Index and Diagrams Electric and Diesel Locomotives, 610mm and 1065mm Gauges, Ref LXD 14/1/100/20, 28 January 1975, as amended
  10. ^ Middleton, John N. (2002). Railways of Southern Africa Locomotive Guide - 2002 (as amended by Combined Amendment List 4, January 2009) (2nd, Dec 2002 ed.). Herts, England: Beyer-Garratt Publications. pp. 49–52, 60.