The final TRC report, released on Thursday, said the network collaborated with rightwing elements and Inkatha Freedom Party members to initiate and facilitate violence.
Although they did not appear to be a coherent and formally constituted a third force unit, there was evidence they were involved in third force activities.
The report said the network often operated with the active collusion or knowledge of senior security force personnel - and the former government either deliberately, or by omission, failed to act against them.
The TRC said the success of third force attempts to generate violence was at least in part a consequence of extremely high levels of political intolerance, for which both the liberation movements and other structures such as the IFP were politically accountable.
The report found that the former SA Defence Force, in collusion with the IFP, set up and trained hitsquads to attack opponents of the IFP and of the former government.
The TRC found that the establishment of paramilitary groups in KwaZulu-Natal resulted in gross human rights violations. The TRC named former Defence Minister Magnus Malan, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi and the IFP's "MZ" Khumalo, along with former SADF members Andries Putter, Louis Botha, Pieter Groenewald, Cornelius van Niekerk, and Mike van den Berg, as being accountable for such violations.
The report also named a long list of high-ranking IFP officials for their part in hitsquad activities in northern KwaZulu-Natal in the early 1990s.