Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Zuma recounts apartheid police arrest during Groot Marico monument launch

President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday recalled the day in 1963 when he, along with 51 others were arrested by the apartheid security branch police.

Zuma was speaking at the launch of the Groot Marico Heritage Site and Liberation Heritage Route of Bokone Bophirima near Zeerust, in the North West.

Speaking of that fateful day, June 8, 1963, Zuma said he and other freedom fighters left Johannesburg in four minibus taxis (combis) and a private car driven by their commander, Lombard Mbatha.

Mbatha would accompany the comrades to the Botswana border for their crossing into exile and back again for their return to South Africa.

On that day, there were 52 people including Mbatha.

“Three combis plus him [Mbatha] were arrested in the evening and our driver, who thought he was bright, did not follow the national road, he wanted to take shortcuts and he got lost.

“So we stopped in the morning and he told us we could not go because people only get dropped off at night, not during the day…”

Zuma promises to tell his story

Zuma, who was 21 years-old at the time, said the group of men forced their driver to continue driving.

The men were eventually stopped by security branch police but they did not even know they were in grave danger until they were taken to Zeerust for questioning.

“So we are sitting in the van and this policeman told us in Setswana that three combis and a private car had been arrested and taken to Pretoria. He asked us where we were going, but we did not understand what he was saying.”

A comrade whose code name was Piet Mahlangu whispered to the men: “Kuphelile madoda (It is over gentlemen).”

“That is when we realised that the whole group was arrested… We were eventually taken to a Marabastad police station where we were beaten, and beaten and beaten…”

He said the monument was important because it told of events that he would never forget.

Zuma said, once again, that he would write a book in which he would tell his story, his way.

“I am giving you snippets because I am going to write a book with the greatest details including what happened.” – News24

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

‘W Cape, fix unplaced pupils crisis’

Civil rights organisations want the department to find a permanent solution to the problem

Shanduka shade over Free State education

Audit firm PwC said R500-million irregular expenditure incurred by the Free State education department is related to an unsolicited bid by the Kagiso Shanduka Trust to improve schools

More top stories

Even religion has limits on its rights

The constitution does protect faith — but not beyond what is reasonable

Covid kills a decade of employment growth in SA

The self-employed were nearly three times less likely to work during the hard lockdown, economists found

Ramaphosa faction dividing Limpopo — NEC hears

In a leaked recording during Saturday’s ANC national executive committee meeting, Mathabatha said he has observed ‘comrades who run around purporting to be the defenders of our president’.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×