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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 367

Paragraph Numbers 181 to 191

Volume 2

Chapter 4

Subsection 20


181 Evidence before the Commission indicates that gross violations of human rights were committed by the PAC in the course of its armed struggle. Formed in 1959 as an Africanist breakaway from the ANC, the involvement of the PAC in the anti-pass law campaign of 1960 led to its banning, together with the ANC, in 1960. Like the ANC, it established an organisational structure in exile and established camps for the military training of members of its armed wing APLA. It engaged in a limited armed struggle which resulted in few human rights violations inside South Africa. It was plagued with internal divisions and leadership conflicts which rendered it ineffective and led to the commission of gross human rights violations against its own members in exile.


182 The establishment of a military wing known as Poqo in September 1961 followed the decision of the PAC to form underground cells and embark on an armed struggle. Poqo was established some three months before the formation of MK and was later transformed into APLA in exile.

183 Poqo6 has been interpreted as having been, at least initially, a spontaneous militant ‘movement’ without clear strategic direction or lines of command.

184 The commission of human rights violations by PAC members began with the activities of Poqo in the early 1960s, whose campaign was to liberate the country with ‘traditional weapons’. In the Western Cape townships, in particular in Langa, Poqo militants conducted a house-to-house membership drive. In what became a reign of terror, residents were coerced into ‘enlisting’ and paying a two shillings and sixpence joining fee. In September 1962, policemen investigating the conscription campaign were attacked by Poqo members. They fired into a crowd, killing one and wounding two others; 133 people were arrested.

185 In the early 1960s, a group of disaffected PAC supporters, the ‘Katangese’, began operating independently of the PAC constitution and political culture of the PAC, raising concern in the Western Cape regional executive of the organisation. The Katangese soon became the targets of physical attacks, attempted assassinations and group attacks by Poqo gangs armed with pangas and pistols. Poqo gangs patrolled certain areas in the Langa Zones by night, turning them into “liberated zones” where even the police feared to tread.

186 In May 1961, Mr Lamstead Giyose became the first person associated with the Kantangese to be assaulted by a group of Poqo men in the course of their conscription campaign. David Mkhungeka, a loyal PAC supporter, was charged for the stabbing. The case was withdrawn when Giyose was informed that he had failed to show up at court on the right day. Giyose said he believed the misunderstanding over the court date was indicative of “some corruption somewhere”.

187 Two other Katangese members, Mr Alfred Canca and Mr Ndikho, were shot by Poqo operatives, both sustaining severe injuries. No one was arrested. The first Western Cape PAC regional chairperson, Mr Christopher Mlokoti, survived a shooting attempt on his life. Several other Katangese members were attacked in their hostels by groups of men armed with pangas, sticks and other ‘traditional weapons’; the Katangese put up stiff resistance.

188 Poqo also engaged in attacks on South African police in this period. On 17 March 1962, a large group of Poqo operatives attacked a police van in Langa township, killing one African policeman, and injuring five others. The vehicle was set alight and destroyed.

189 Two further police men, Sergeant Moyi and Constable Magwaca, were killed in the Langa Zones: Magwaca stabbed to death on 29 July 1962, and Moyi was killed on 26 September, 1962. Magwaca had earned notoriety in the community for his alleged involvement in the beating and harrasment of protesters in the 21 March 1960 demonstrations and in the period following the Langa shootings. He was also perceived to be responsible for sexually abusing women who stayed ‘illegally’ in the Zones while their men were at work.

190 The Commission did not receive victim submissions or amnesty applications in connection with the above violations. In its submission to the Commission, the PAC did, however, claim responsibility for the “elimination” of a “notorious Special Branch detective” in Krugersdorp. Four PAC members – Mr Richard Matsaphae, Mr Jos Motsumi, Mr Thomas Molathlegi and Mr Petros Mtshobe – were sentenced to death and hanged in 1963 for this killing.

191 Also in 1962, Poqo members engaged in attacks on representatives of traditional authority in the ‘homelands’. On 16 October 1962, headman Gwebindlala Gqoboza of St Marks district in Cofimvaba,Transkei was killed by Poqo members. In February 1963, headman Jonginamba Deliwe was killed in the same district. He is reported to have encountered local resistance to land rehabilitation measures and to have requested KD Matanzima’s intervention.

6 Poqo means ‘pure’ or ‘alone’ in Xhosa. The name had been used before in the organisation in the translation of Pan Africanist Congress as ‘Umbutho wama Afrika Poqo’ (the organisation of Africanists or ‘undiluted’ or ‘pure’ Africans), those Africans who wanted to be on their own.
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