Activists' remains to be exhumed

2010-02-23 19:07

Johannesburg - The remains of six Pan Africanist Congress activists, who were hanged in 1967 and 1968, will be exhumed this weekend, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Tuesday.

The six members of the Poqo, the PAC's military wing, were sentenced to death, hanged and their bodies remained the property of the state.

The bodies of Zibongile Serious Dodo, Nontasi Albert Sheweni, Jim Mountain Ngantweni, Donker Ntsabo, Veyishile Sharps Qoba, and Mqokeleli Gladstone Nqulwana were located by the NPA's Missing Person Task Team.

The first five were convicted, sentenced to death and executed between January 1967 and March 1968 for their involvement in an attack on police vehicles in Langa township in Cape Town in March 1962.

A policeman was killed in the incident and others were injured.

Buried in pauper graves

Nqulwana was sentenced to death for an incident in September 1962 in which a policeman also died.

"All six were buried in pauper graves in the Rebecca Street Cemetery in Pretoria on the day of their execution.

"They were young migrant workers from the former Transkei who were working in Cape Town," the NPA said in a statement.

The executioner from 1962 to 1986, Chris Barnard, estimated that he hanged around 1 500 people during that period.

Families to view gallows room

"Many families of those executed by the apartheid government went to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to report their experiences and requested assistance in tracing the remains of their loved ones.

"The TRC had made a finding that the executions for political offences constituted gross human rights violations.

"The exact grave sites have been located through investigation and research done by NPA's Missing Persons Task Team with the assistance of Tshwane Metro Council's Department of Geomatics."

The families of the deceased will be taken to the Pretoria Central Prison to view the death row cells and the gallows room.

Thereafter they will attend the exhumation of the bodies of their loved ones.

"This exhumation addresses the recovery of the remains of some of these victims so that they can receive a dignified reburial in the presence of their loved ones," the NPA said.