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Exhumed remains of anti-apartheid activists to be handed over for reburial in Cofimvaba

By Afikile Lugunya - Mar 20, 2019
Exhumed remains of anti-apartheid activists to be handed over for reburial in Cofimvaba

Port Elizabeth - The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) on Wednesday said that, together with the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, it will conduct another handover and reburial of the exhumed remains of nine anti-apartheid activists on Saturday at Cofimvaba.

The nine were members of the Azanian People's Liberation Army, formerly known as POQO, which was the military wing of the Pan Africanist Congress. They were sentenced and hanged to death by the then apartheid regime.

PAC Eastern Cape spokesperson, Ndiyakholwa Ngqulu, said the list includes three POQO forces, who were under the command of an activist identified as Comrade Ngcongolo and operated in the Komani area.

POQO activists arrested and sentenced to death

“In 1961, the POQO operatives were tasked to find out, who was giving commands for the killing of African people. It is around this time that they found a person identified as MC Botha working with the armed forces. Unfortunately, they were defeated and eventually got arrested," said Ngqulu.

“They were Zoya Khatshana, Zoya Mpithizeli and Yawa Moti."

He said that the other group consists of six POQO operatives from Cofimvaba.

"These comrades were from a POQO task team in Cape Town and came home to defend their families, who were being harrassed and abused by the Chiefs under Chief Magistrate Jordan.

“He (Jordan) issued a command that those under him harass and rape married women in those villages. At this point, the POQO task team had arrived in Cofimvaba and confronted the local Chiefs at a traditional Xhosa ceremony (Mgidi) in that area in 1962," Ngqulu added.

"Upon defending the people, 19 of them were later arrested by the police and some were released.

"However, six operatives - Meyi Zenzile, Goli Sonamzi, Mhlaba Siqwayi, Katsekile Philaphi, Bizo Modi and Galo Nkosinam, were later sentenced to death and hanged that same year."

PAC Eastern Cape plans to protest against companies that allegedly supported apartheid

He said that the PAC has been working together with the Department of Justice and Correctional Services since 2016 to exhume the bodies so that they can be handed back to the deceased's families for proper reburial.

Ngqulu said that their efforts indicate a clear demonstration of the PAC's contribution in the struggle against apartheid.

“It is also confirmed by the report that majority of the people that were brutally hanged by the apartheid regime in Pretoria were POQO soldiers.”

The PAC thanked Minister Michael Masutha for ensuring that the families can finally rebury their sons with dignity.

“These are heroes and deserve such kind of respect. It is for this reason the PAC in the Eastern Cape will have its Provincial Protest March on 6 April 2019 against companies that collaborated with the apartheid government in committing this appaling tragedy that resulted into loss of countless lives, familes, cultures, histories and identities as well as theft of land, resources, labour and human possibilities which continue up to the present,” Ngqulu described.

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