PAC sol­dier ‘Boy Boy’ Mbete bows out

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - BALD­WIN ND­ABA bald­win.nd­aba@inl.co.za

NTSIKELELO “Boy Boy” Mbete – the brain be­hind the PAC mil­i­tary wing’s at­tacks on var­i­ous po­lice sta­tions in the coun­try, in­clud­ing in Soweto – has died.

A memo­rial ser­vice was sched­uled to be held in Thaba Tsh­wane at 10am to­day.

He died af­ter a short ill­ness on Jan­uary 11 and will be buried on Satur­day fol­low­ing a fu­neral ser­vice at Thaba Tsh­wane.

The man dubbed Karl Zim­biri was linked to at­tacks on Diep­kloof po­lice of­fi­cers and a failed at­tack at Yeoville po­lice sta­tion in May 1993.

Var­i­ous peo­ple used Mbete’s name to claim other at­tacks in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try, in­clud­ing the St James Church at­tack. The in­struc­tion to use his name for any suc­cess­ful at­tack came from him, so as to cause con­fu­sion around the real iden­tity of Zim­biri.

Orig­i­nally from Keiskamma­hoek in the East­ern Cape, Mbete lived in Cape Town’s Langa town­ship in the late 1970s.

In 1980, he went into ex­ile in Le­sotho, and to Dar es Salaam via Mozam­bique in 1981.

For­mer PAC High Com­mand mem­ber Cas­tro Phillips said Mbete un­der­went mil­i­tary train­ing at Nk­wame Nkrumah Academy in Guinea Con­akry and tran­sited through the main Aza­nian Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army (Apla) mil­i­tary camp in Ithumbi, Mbeya re­gion, in south­ern Tan­za­nia to Iringa Mga­gao mil­i­tary camp.

“His ex­cel­lence in train­ing pro­pelled him into lead­er­ship po­si­tions such as pla­toon com­man­der, camp ad­min­is­tra­tion com­mit­tee mem­ber, lo­gis­tics and sup­ply of­fi­cer, camp dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee mem­ber and ul­ti­mately camp com­man­der at Iringa Mga­gao.

“He served in Apla’s op­er­a­tion di­rec­torate as a re­gional com­man­der re­spon­si­ble for Botswana and Aza­nia (South Africa) op­er­a­tions,” Phillips said.

Apla de­clared 1993 “the Year of the Great Storm”, when its sol­diers vowed to in­ten­sify mil­i­tary at­tacks against the apartheid regime.

Mbete emerged as the leader of the cam­paign, as­sumed the co­de­name Karl Zim­biri and in­stantly became a neme­sis for the then South African in­tel­li­gence ser­vices.

It was also dur­ing that time that the PAC stu­dent wing – the Pan African­ist Stu­dent Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Paso) – vowed to con­tinue sup­port­ing Apla fi­nan­cially and ma­te­ri­ally. Some within the Paso lead­er­ship and their mem­bers were op­posed to the PAC na­tional lead­er­ship’s de­ci­sion to en­ter into the Codesa talks, which led to the 1994 first demo­cratic elec­tions in South Africa.

In de­fi­ance of the PAC na­tional lead­ers, some Paso mem­bers en­listed with the un­der­ground struc­tures of the PAC in sup­port of the Great Storm cam­paign in the hope that their na­tional lead­ers would with­draw from the talks.

How­ever, sanity pre­vailed within the Apla ranks and they also agreed on the ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties a few months be­fore the na­tional elec­tions.

Mbete became in­volved in the ne­go­ti­a­tions for Apla’s in­clu­sion in the in­te­gra­tion process and was later to be­come the com­man­der of the As­sem­bly area at De Brug in Bloem­fontein in 1994.

As a lieu­tenant-colonel in 1999, he became the first Non-Statu­tory Force (NSF) Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing of Group 15 HQ (Apla/MK). In 2000, he became the first NSF Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing of the SA Army In­fantry School.

The fol­low­ing year, he was ap­pointed as a se­nior staff of­fi­cer con­ven­tional at op­er­a­tional head­quar­ters. He was later ap­pointed as an SANDF de­fence at­taché to Canada but re­signed in 2008 to pur­sue pri­vate busi­ness.

“There is no doubt that Ntsikelelo Mbete com­mit­ted and ded­i­cated his life to the lib­er­a­tion of the Aza­nian masses.

“He has un­am­bigu­ously ful­filled his vow with Apla that he will serve, he will suf­fer and he will sac­ri­fice for the bet­ter­ment of the lives of toil­ing Africans in their own moth­er­land,” Phillips said.

‘Train­ing ex­cel­lence pro­pelled him into lead­er­ship roles’

DED­I­CATED: Ntsikelelo “Boy Boy” Mbete

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