PAC soldier ‘Boy Boy’ Mbete bows out
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