SABC News | Sport | TV | Radio | Education | TV Licenses | Contact Us
 

TRC Final Report

Page Number (Original) 48

Paragraph Numbers 61 to 69

Volume 3

Chapter 2

Subsection 6

Resistance and revolutionary groupings
ANC/MK activities

61 During the 1950s, the ANC had built up a strong mass base in the Eastern Cape. When the ANC was banned in 1960, many recruits into the newly formed MK came from that region. MK engaged in a number of acts of sabotage in the Eastern Cape as part of its ‘armed propaganda’ campaign. Academic Tom Lodge records that Port Elizabeth was the region most seriously affected by the ANC’s sabotage campaign, with fifty-eight attacks recorded. Cape Town was next with thirty-five. In the rest of the Eastern Cape, six attacks were recorded for East London and five for Uitenhage, near Port Elizabeth. Lodge also notes that, while nationally there was a general adherence to the national command’s instruction to avoid bloodshed, there were twenty-three attacks on railways or beer halls that endangered lives, and twenty-three attacks on police officers. Most of these took place in either Port Elizabeth or Durban10 .

10 Tom Lodge, Black politics in South Africa since 1945. Johannesburg: Ravan, 1983.
PAC/Poqo activities

62 In line with the national Poqo call for an uprising targeting whites and following the 1960 Pondoland Revolt, Poqo activity increased in Transkei. Poqo activity in the Eastern Cape was concentrated in parts of Transkei, in the Queenstown area and in Graaff-Reinet (the hometown of PAC leader Robert Sobukwe). Much of this activity, particularly in the Queenstown and Transkei regions, seems to have been influenced by migrant workers who lived in Transkei and worked in Cape Town. The Poqo operations in Paarl in the Western Cape also involved some Transkei migrants.

63 In December 1962, Poqo members made an abortive attempt to assassinate Paramount Chief Kaiser Matanzima at his home at Qamata near Cofimvaba. Matanzima, who was later to become first president of an ‘independent’ Transkei, was at the time actively promoting self-government for the Transkei. Seven Poqo members were killed and three police officers seriously injured in the encounter. Statements made to the Commission suggest that, after this incident, Poqo members were rounded up and taken to Qamata where they were beaten. Some alleged that Chief Matanzima himself had been involved in this. The Commission met with Chief Matanzima, who said he was too old to remember matters from the 1960s and declined to be interviewed.

THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT MEMBERS OF THE PAC /POQO CARRIED OUT FAILED ATTEMPT(S) TO KILL PARAMOUNT CHIEF KAISER MATANZIMA AND TOOK PART IN ARMED ACTIONS IN WHICH CIVILIANS AND/OR POLICE WERE KILLED OR INJURED. THESE ACTIONS WERE CARRIED OUT AS PART OF THE PAC’S ARMED STRUGGLE. THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THESE ACTIONS AMOUNT TO GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS FOR WHICH THE PAC IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

64 In 1962, there was Poqo activity in a village called Jixini, in the district of Mqanduli in Transkei. Mr Mamfengu Leonard Mzolisa [EC2467/97CTK], who joined the PAC in 1960, told the Commission that the Jixini branch of Poqo planned an attack on white people near the area; but before this campaign could take off, more than 100 Poqo members were arrested. The prison and police station of Mqanduli reportedly overflowed with people detained during this period. Mzolisa was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in East London for participating in an unlawful gathering. Mzolisa named four prisoners, including his brother, who died as a result of ill treatment during this time.

65 On the night of 4 February 1963, Poqo members attacked a group of whites who were sleeping at the roadside near Bashee (Mbashe) River bridge in Transkei, killing five people. A massive police crackdown on the PAC followed and fifty-five people were arrested and charged with murder, twenty-three of whom were convicted and sentenced to death. The Commission did not receive submissions from the victims of this attack, but two were received from PAC members arrested in connection with the incident. Mr Gilindonda Nomgogwana [EC2021/97UTA] and Mr Right Mangqikana [EC2079/97UTA] were both charged. Mangqikana was subsequently executed and Nomgogwana was jailed for three and a half years. Nomgogwana said he was assaulted in Umtata and East London during his detention and later while jailed on Robben Island:

I was repeatedly beaten up with sticks, fists, open hands, kicked with booted feet and I was also subjected to helicopter treatment.

66 Mr Zakhele Mangqikana said his father, Mr Right Mangqikana, had been innocent:

It was alleged that those Boers had been killed by the members of Poqo, of which my father was a member. But I am made to believe that my father was not present when those Boers were killed.

67 In addition, in 1963, fifty-six PAC members went on trial in Steynsburg for involvement in Poqo activities. The Commission heard that Mr Velile Willie Ramncwana [EC1235/96NWC], one of the accused, was tortured in detention by unknown police officers in Venterstad and Colesburg. They threw water over him and beat him on the head with bricks. One eardrum was damaged, leaving him partially deaf. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

68 The most famous of the PAC prisoners from the Eastern Cape was the PAC president, Mr Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe [EC0155/97ALB]. Sobukwe was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in May 1960. Once he had completed his sentence, Parliament introduced a special amendment to the Suppression of Communism Act to provide for people convicted of certain political offences to be held in continual detention after completion of their sentences — if the Minister of Justice believed that they were likely to ‘further the aims of Communism’ on their release. In terms of a clause amending the General Law Amendment Act (No 37 of 1963), often referred to as the ‘Sobukwe clause’, Sobukwe was detained on Robben Island until May 1969, when he was released and banished to Kimberley until his death in 1978. According to his widow, Ms Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe:

My husband was to be released on 30 May [1963] but he was not released. The government refused. He was one of the people who built up an organisation. They then decided that they will pass a Sobukwe Clause so that they can keep him …
It is both the NP and the opposition party of the day that agreed that he should be, he should remain in jail. It is only Helen Suzman who spoke up for him. Even the opposition party said that he should remain in custody. Nobody wanted him to be released.

69 Ms Sobukwe said her husband had been healthy before he was jailed but became ill while in jail. She unsuccessfully petitioned the government for his release so that he could get medical treatment at home. In 1966, he was admitted to hospital under a false name and had an operation about which his family was not informed. He also told his wife he had been given food with broken glass in it while on Robben Island. After his release, in Kimberley, Sobukwe suffered from a chronic cough. The family was initially refused permission to take him to Johannesburg to see a specialist. Sobukwe eventually died of lung cancer in 1978.

 
SABC Logo
Broadcasting for Total Citizen Empowerment
DMMA Logo
SABC © 2019
>