The attack on township residents was carried out by armed men from the steelworks residence KwaMadala Hostel, which was located roughly 1 km from the township. Roughly 40 people died and several were maimed.
The attackers were supporters of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), rival party of the African National Congress (ANC). At the time, the South African government and several other political groups were negotiating in the Congress for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) talks. Shortly after the massacre, it was claimed[by whom?] that the South African police force in cooperation with the IFP had organised the raid, and the ANC consequently stepped out of the negotiations. It was also suggested[by whom?] that the raid formed part of the activities of the South African Defence Force's Operation Marion. The ANC resumed negotiations shortly after the Bisho massacre of 7 September 1992.
A criminal trial held in 1993, which included testimony of 120 Boipatong residents, convicted IFP supporters of crimes in the massacre, but ruled that the police had played no part in it. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) concluded in 1998 that the police were in fact involved in the raid, but the TRC's Amnesty Committee found in 2000 that the police were not involved after all.
In an interview with journalist Rian Malan in October 1998, Sergeant Gerhardus "Pedro" Peens, who claimed not to have been in Boipotang at the time of the massacre, admitted to being in Boipatong investigating a murder, driving a Casspir, but claimed that he had left prior to the massacre. Peens had previously denied having been at Boipatong in a Casspir at all. Peens' statement was later considered by the TRC in their investigations. Peen's admission was prompted by the application for amnesty by sixteen Inkatha Freedom Party members for their part in the Boipatong massacre.
The Goldstone Commission appointed Peter Waddington to make an independent enquiry. His report was released on 22 July 1992. It stated that there was no evidence of police collusion in the killings.
- South African History Online. "Scores of people are killed in Boipatong, Vaal". Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- Staff Reporter. "Cracks in Boipatong Story". Mail and Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 1999.
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission. "TRC Statement on Killing of Boipotang Residents, 2 July 1998".
- Waddington, Peter. "Waddington report on Boipatong". Retrieved 16 June 2012.