Tears as more PAC political prisoner remains exhumed

2018-03-07 19:12
The remains of nine Pan Africanist Congress members, who were hanged between 1963 to 1967, were exhumed. (News24)

The remains of nine Pan Africanist Congress members, who were hanged between 1963 to 1967, were exhumed. (News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

WATCH: ‘The President South Africa never had’ - PAC commemorates founder, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe's 93rd birthday

2017-12-05 17:16

South Africa and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) commemorated what would’ve been the late Robert Sobukwe’s 93rd birthday. The PAC leader was born on this day in 1924. Watch. WATCH

Pretoria - A woman wept bitterly as she entered the execution room at the Kgosi Mampuru prison gallows, where political prisoners were hanged decades ago, before they were buried in unmarked graves.  

Nombulele Mavis Mgweba held a white tissue in her hands and wiped her face as a correctional services official demonstrated how prisoners were executed. 

Her uncle, McDonald Mgweba, a member of the Pan Africanist Congress' armed wing Poqo, was executed at the age of 30. 

'We need to be strong'

"It is not easy [but in] the end we need to be strong," she said.

"I never understood why they hanged them. It's better if they shot them instead of hanging them. That's why I [am] not happy about this," she said. 

She said her family held a funeral without his remains in 1987.

"Now we have the remains, but it's too late for us. Most of the relatives are dead...it is only kids now."

WATCH: 'Now we can get closure' - PAC after executed members' remains exhumed

On Wednesday morning, families of those who were hanged were taken on a visit to the prison gallows to remember their loved ones, before heading to the Rebecca Street cemetery in Pretoria West. 

The initiative was conducted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) unit of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, together with the Missing Persons Task Team (MPTT) of the National Prosecuting Authority. 

They exhumed the remains of nine members of the Pan Africanist Congress’ armed wing Poqo, who were hanged between 1963 to 1967.  

Eight PAC members were exhumed at Mamelodi West cemetery on Tuesday and one was exhumed on Wednesday at the Rebecca Street cemetery. 

The project was launched by Minister of Justice Michael Masutha in 2016. 

According to the department, the bodies of the hanged prisoners remained the property of the apartheid state and their families were denied the opportunity to bury them. 

The department said in a statement that the nine PAC members who were exhumed this week were all part of an intense political protest in Paarl in 1962. 

The execution room at the Kgosi Mampuru prison gallows. (News24)

During this time, there was a series of campaigns and attacks on suspected informers and white residents, it said. 

"The period of protest culminated in a mass night time march on the white town of Paarl in November 1962 in which two whites were killed. In all, nine persons were killed by the PAC protesters that year and five PAC protesters were shot dead by police."

PAC President Narius Moloto, who was at the cemetery on Wednesday afternoon, told News24 that they were grateful because their heroes were being exhumed. 

'Brave fighters'

"[The] PAC has the most hanged people during the course of the struggle. Today the exhumation bears witness to that," he said.  

"It is a highly-emotional event because these are the people who fought gallantly for our struggle. 

"Today people think this liberation was cheap, free and easy but, by witnessing what we are witnessing, it confirms that people contributed with their lives," he added. 

Once the bodies are positively identified they will be given to their families for a dignified burial.

Read more on:    pac  |  pretoria

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.