PAC cries foul over cadres’ treat­ment un­der the ANC

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - @khayakoko88 KHAYA KOKO khaya.koko@inl.co.za

THE PAC has slammed the ANC for its “evil” treat­ment of po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers, par­tic­u­larly those con­victed dur­ing the apartheid era.

PAC spokesper­son Ken­neth Mok­gatlhe was speak­ing to The Star ahead of Kenny Mot­samai’s re­lease to­mor­row, af­ter spend­ing over 27 years in prison for the mur­der of a white traf­fic of­fi­cer in 1989.

Mot­samai was an op­er­a­tive of the Aza­nian Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (Apla) – the PAC’s for­mer mil­i­tary wing – and was sen­tenced to two life sen­tences and an ad­di­tional 19 years for the mur­der and three other charges, in­clud­ing armed robbery.

Speak­ing for the PAC, Mok­gatlhe as­serted that the cur­rent govern­ment could be com­pared to the op­pres­sive apartheid regime in terms of how it dealt with po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers who weren’t from any ANC-aligned for­ma­tion.

He cited the PAC’s late pres­i­dent, Robert Sobukwe, and the way he was treated by the apartheid govern­ment, where Sobukwe was kept in jail for six years longer than he was sen­tenced in what came to be known as the Sobukwe Clause. Mok­gatlhe said he be­lieved the ANC was act­ing in the same way.

“There has al­ways been this type of hos­til­ity to­wards PAC lead­ers. To­day we see the same be­hav­iour con­ducted by the ANC govern­ment,” he said.

“The re­lease of Kenny Mot­samai brings mixed feel­ings for us as it re­minds us of Apla cadres who are still in jail. It shows how evil the ANC has be­come. The is­sue of po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers who are still be­hind bars was taken se­ri­ously dur­ing (for­mer pres­i­dent Thabo) Mbeki’s era, where a task team was set up to look at this is­sue. To­day we don’t have the same will. It is painful when we go to Kgosi Mam­puru prison and see the state of Apla sol­diers – some of whom don’t even know where their fam­i­lies are,” added Mok­gatlhe.

Last year, Mot­samai was granted con­di­tional re­lease, or day pa­role, by the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices (DoJ). Mot­samai re­fused the day pa­role, say­ing at the time that he was still be­ing de­nied his free­dom, de­spite be­ing al­lowed to spend the ma­jor­ity of the day out­side prison.

Mok­gatlhe ex­plained the rea­son­ing be­hind Mot­samai’s de­ci­sion, say­ing the con­di­tions set by the DoJ were in­hu­mane, in that, ac­cord­ing to him, Mot­samai was ex­pected to fi­nance his own trans­port from Boks­burg Prison to his home town­ship of Katle­hong ev­ery day. Mok­gatlhe added that this ex­pec­ta­tion was un­ten­able.

“How do you ex­pect some­one who has spent over 27 years in prison to be able to be able to sus­tain him­self on the out­side?” Mok­gatlhe asked.

“This was dif­fi­cult be­cause he was told that if he did not obey the terms and con­di­tions of his day pa­role, he was go­ing to re­ceive a se­vere penalty. At times he had to stay in jail be­cause he did not have money to travel from Boks­burg to his home.”

Mok­gatlhe de­tailed Mot­samai’s his­tory, which led to his join­ing the PAC in the early 1980s, train­ing in Ethiopia dur­ing that decade and re­turn­ing to South Africa for the mis­sion for which he was even­tu­ally jailed.

Mok­gatlhe said the PAC didn’t recog­nise the armed robbery sen­tence be­cause it was an act of war.

“We call that mis­sion ‘re­pos­ses­sion’ and not steal­ing be­cause it was an op­er­a­tion which sought to fund the op­er­a­tions of Apla, and also to look af­ter our com­mu­ni­ties. Dur­ing the war, the civil­ians were also suf­fer­ing, so it was the re­spon­si­bil­ity of lib­er­a­tion move­ments, not only the PAC, to en­sure that the com­mu­ni­ties did not suf­fer ad­versely.”

Mot­samai will open his car- wash busi­ness in Katle­hong shortly af­ter his re­lease, and Mok­gatlhe en­thused that this ini­tia­tive would as­sist the un­em­ployed youth in that town­ship.

DoJ spokesper­son Singabakho Nx­u­malo said a “de­ci­sion on full pa­role place­ment is yet to be taken by the Cor­rec­tional Su­per­vi­sion and Pa­role Board on Kenny Mot­samai. He is re­quired to firstly com­plete his day pa­role be­fore a de­ter­mi­na­tion on his fit­ness for pa­role place­ment can be made.”

PIC­TURE: ITUME­LENG ENGLISH

FRESH START: Pan African Congress Strug­gle hero Kenny Mot­samai leaves the Boks­burg cor­rec­tional ser­vice cen­tre on day six of his day pa­role.

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