PAC cries foul over cadres’ treatment under the ANC
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.”
FRESH START: Pan African Congress Struggle hero Kenny Motsamai leaves the Boksburg correctional service centre on day six of his day parole.