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TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 14

Volume 3

Chapter 1

Subsection 9

1959 The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) is formed under Robert Sobukwe. The Extension of the University Education Act provides for the segregation of English-language universities and the creation of ethnic universities. The Promotion of Bantu Self-Governing Act lays the foundation for the creation of 'independent’ bantustans. An amendment to Pass Laws Act extends pass laws to women. Both the ANC and the PAC initiate protest campaigns against the pass laws. The Sekhukuneland revolt is crushed, followed by executions of those convicted,including a chieftainess.
1960 Mandate period of Truth and Reconciliation Commission begins
On 21 March, sixty-nine people are killed and 186 wounded at Sharpville when police open fire on marchers protesting against the pass laws. In Cape Town, two people are killed and 47 wounded in Langa when police open fire on a crowd of anti-pass protestors. At the end of March, a group of 30 000 people march from Langa to Cape Town in protest.
A national state of emergency is declared on 24 March, lasting until 31 August. 11 503 people are detained. PAC leader Sobukwe is sentenced to three years for burning his pass.
The ANC and the PAC are banned on 8 April.
The African Resistance Movement (ARM) is formed by mainly young radical whites and launches a sabotage campaign. The Pondoland Revolt by Transkei peasants against the Bantu Authorities Act is crushed by police shootings, detentions and torture, trials and executions. The South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) is formed. South Africa’s alleged contravention of SWA mandate is taken to the International Court.
1961 The Indemnity Act indemnifies the government, its officers and all other persons acting under its authority and empowered to suppress internal disorder from civil or criminal proceedings. (The Act is made retrospective from 21 March 1960).
Following South Africa’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth, the first steps are taken to establish a military intelligence component in the South African Defence Force (SADF).
On 31 May, South Africa becomes an independent Republic and leaves the Commonwealth. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to ANC President, Chief Albert Luthuli, in October. ANC and PAC missions-in-exile open in Tanzania.
Poqo, armed wing of the PAC, is formed in September. Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the ANC, is formed. MK launches its first sabotage actions on 16 December, the first in a series of over two hundred attacks on state installations over the following eighteen months.
1962 The General Law Amendment Act (Sabotage Act) increases the State President's power to declare organisations unlawful and to add further restrictions to banning orders. The Act creates the offence of sabotage by providing that any person who jeopardises law and order can be tried for sabotage for which the maximum sentence is death.
Poqo initiates attacks on ‘informers’, headmen, chiefs and whites. In November, Poqo members launch a raid in Paarl in which five people die. In the Eastern Cape, seven Poqo members die in December in a failed attempt to assassinate Paramount Chief Kaiser Matanzima. (On 4 February 1963, Poqo members kill five whites at the Bashee Bridge in Transkei). Mass arrests, allegations of torture, convictions and several executions follow.
1963The Publications and Entertainment Act extends the state’s control over the media. Transkei is granted self-governing status — the first homeland to become self-governing. The General Law Amendment Act (ninety-day detention law) authorises any commissioned officer to detain without a warrant people suspected of political activities and to hold them, without access to a lawyer, for ninety days. In practice, people are often released after ninety days and immediately re-detained for a further ninety-day period. The ‘Sobukwe clause’ allows for the further detention for twelve months of a person convicted of political offences. Allegations of torture and deaths in detention soon follow.
In March, Potlako Leballo of the PAC announces that a general uprising in South Africa is imminent. British police raid PAC offices in Maseru and seize membership lists. Republican Intelligence, the forerunner of the Bureau of State Security (BOSS), is formed in June.
Solwandle Looksmart Ngudle dies in September in Pretoria after being held for seventeen days, one of the first to die in detention. The official cause of death is suicide.
Seven senior members of MK are arrested at Lilliesleaf Farm, Rivonia on 11 July 1963. The Rivonia Treason Trial of ten people including Nelson Mandela follows. Most are sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) is founded.
1964 The Armaments Board, the forerunner to ARMSCOR, is established in order to develop South African self-sufficiency in the manufacturing of arms. Three MK/South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) members from Port Elizabeth — Vuyisile Mini, Wilson Khayinga and Zinakile Mkaba — are executed following their conviction on charges of sabotage and the killing of an alleged police informer.
ARM member, John Harris, bombs Johannesburg station in July. A woman is killed and twenty-three people injured. (Harris is hanged at Pretoria Central Prison in April 1965).
1965 The Criminal Procedure Amendment Act (180-Day Detention Law) empowers the attorney-general to order the detention of people likely to give evidence for the state in any criminal proceedings relating to certain political or common law offences. Detainees can be held in solitary confinement for six months and only state officials are permitted access to them.
Bram Fischer of the SACP is arrested. He is subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. The Smith government in former Rhodesia declares UDI.
1966 SWAPO and the SAP clash at Ongulumbashe, SWA/Namibia, in a battle that marks the start of SWAPO’s armed struggle. SAP forces are led by ‘Rooi Rus’ Swanepoel.
The UN General Assembly terminates South Africa’s SWA mandate.
Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd is assassinated in the House of Assembly by a parliamentary messenger, Dimitri Tsafendas on 6 September. Balthazar J Vorster becomes Prime Minister on 13 September.
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