Mamelodi West Cemetery File picture: Etienne Creux/Independent Media

Johannesburg - The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will on Thursday conduct the exhumation of the remains of 10 members of the Pan Africanist Congress’ armed wing Poqo who were hanged between 1963 and 1967.  

The TRC Unit in the justice department together with the Missing Persons Task Team in the NPA will conduct the exhumation at Mamelodi West Cemetery at the top of Boundary Road.

In a statement on Wednesday, the department said the exhumations form part of the Gallows Exhumation Project launched by Justice Minister Michael Masutha in 2016, aimed at recovering the remains of 130 political prisoners who were hanged prior to the suspension of the death penalty in 1990.  

"The bodies of the hanged political prisoners remained the property of the state and were given pauper burials in municipal cemeteries around Pretoria. Families were denied the opportunity to bury them," explained the department.
 
At least 60 PAC members were hanged in the 1960s. 

The 10 PAC members to be exhumed on Thursday include: Vezile Jaxa, aged 26, hanged on 1 November 1963; Lennox Mngambi Madikane, 25, hanged on 1 November 1963; Mxolisi Damane, 26, hanged on 1 November 1963; Gadavu Johannes Notyawe, 40, hanged on 14 October 1963; Gqibile Nicholas Hans, 26, hanged on 30 May 1967; Baden Koboka, 32, hanged on 30 May 1967; Jabavu Jonas Mzondi, 34, hanged on 30 May 1967; Livingstone Fatyela, 30, hanged on 30 May 1967; Bongezile Edward Sikundla, 32, hanged on 30 May 1967 and Msimasi Wellington Tyobeka, 29, hanged on 30 May 1967.

The department said their remains will be exhumed from Mamelodi West cemetery, where they were buried in pauper graves on the same day that they were hanged. 

"The exhumations will commence at 10 am and will conclude by 3 pm. The other 10 PAC members hanged for the events in Paarl will be exhumed in the coming months."