JOHANNESBURG, SEPT. 5 -- Police said today they would resume barring journalists from townships during periods of violence if their presence inflames "protesters or combatants."

Police spokesman Eugene Opperman said the sight of journalists acted as an incitement to factions fighting in a three-week-long feud in Johannesburg's black townships that has cost 580 lives.

Journalists are not barred from entering the townships but, under a limited state of emergency imposed last month in a bid to stop the fighting, police can order them to leave if their presence incites violence.

"Protesters or combatants act up in front of the cameras, causing a tremendous problem to us," Opperman said.

Opperman acknowledged that his statement contradicted assurances to journalists by Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok, who said last month that the rules would not be used to prevent reporting.

The new regulations are virtually identical to rules used during a four-year state of emergency, lifted in the Johannesburg area and elsewhere in June as part of political reforms. They give security forces sweeping powers of search, confiscation and arrest.

Opperman made his announcement a day after 36 people were killed in Sebokeng township, 11 of them shot by soldiers. The township residents said Zulu migrant workers taking part in the violence acted in collusion with the police, who deny the accusation.

Today, the African National Congress and the white anti-apartheid Democratic Party called for an independent inquiry into the shootings. "The killing of 36 people by the {army} and Inkatha {a predominantly Zulu movement} and the arrest of members of Inkatha, some of them armed with AK-47 rifles, confirm our long-held view that the violence is a well-orchestrated campaign which is supported by elements of the state," the ANC said in a statement.

The army has announced an internal inquiry into the incident.

Police said townships were calm today and reported few overnight incidents.