515 10.06.2014 Andrew Mlangeni(L), Liliesleaf CEO Nicholas Wolpe(C) and Denis Goldberg (R). Rivonia trialists Mlangeni and Goldberg signed for the Lilisleaf Rivonia ten gold medallion. Picture: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg - The African National Congress saluted the Rivonia trialists on the 50th anniversary of their sentencing on Thursday.

“This marked the stepping up of the offensive against apartheid and its symbols,” national spokesman Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

On June 12, 1964 eight ANC leaders, including former president Nelson Mandela, were found guilty of charges related to furthering communism and conspiring to commit sabotage and cause a revolution.

They were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Pretoria Supreme Court.

“The ANC rededicates itself to ideals of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, and prosperous South Africa for which these leaders were prepared to give their lives.”

He said the party would strive for the total liberation of South Africa's people, as demonstrated by the Rivonia trialists.

“(They) carried on their shoulders the hopes of our people during the darkest period of our history,” he said.

“We salute their heroic resolve and willingness to give their lives to liberate our country.” - Sapa