Third Force (South Africa)
The "Third Force" was a term used by leaders of the ANC during the late 1980s and early 1990s to refer to a clandestine force believed to be responsible for a surge in violence in KwaZulu-Natal, and townships around and south of the Witwatersrand (or "Rand").
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) found 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.
Post 1994 use 
Today the high rate of Protest in South Africa is often attributed to a 'third force', often assumed to be linked to foreign intelligence agencies and white intellectuals. However, S'bu Zikode of the shackdweller's movement Abahlali baseMjondolo has famously deconstructed the term by claiming the third force is the anger of the poor.
The ANC also often refers to protestors and other critics as 'counter-revolutionaries'.
The Mail & Guardian has reported that: "According to grassroots activists the accusations of "criminality" and "third forces" are familiar: used to delegitimise and dismiss dissent and grievances - and perpetuate the notion of a society homogenously content with an ANC-led government."
The newspaper also quoted activist Ayanda Kota as saying that these allegations: "take the agency away from us. It's the same argument used for the mineworkers fighting for a living wage: they are being used by some 'third force'… Poor people…apparently can't organize. It was the same with Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement - the CIA were behind them."
See also 
- Civil Cooperation Bureau - an apartheid era military hit squad
- Inkatha - Zulu cultural and political organisation
- The Historical Significance of South Africa's Third Force, Stephen Ellis Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Jun., 1998), pp. 261-299
- "Section 4 Appendix: The ‘Third Force’", Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report (pdf) 6, 2003, p. 584
- Abahlali’s Vocal Politics of Proximity: Speaking, Suffering and Political Subjectivization, Anna Selmeczi, Journal of Asian and African Studies, October 2012 vol. 47 no. 5 498-515
- On the Third Force, SACSIS, 2012
- Zikode, S'bu (2006), We are the Third Force, Abahlali baseMjondolo
- The ANC's imagined and real enemies: 'Creeping counter-revolution' vs. creeping scandals, Ranjeni Munusamy, 21 January 2012
- Activists decry talk of 'third force' at Marikana, Niren Tolsi, Mail & Guardian, 24 August 2012
- Activists decry talk of 'third force' at Marikana, Niren Tolsi,Mail & Guardian, 24 August 2012