Family members to attend reburials of executed Cato Manor 9
Their reburial is part of the Gallows Exhumation Project, launched in March 2016, and which aims to exhume the remains of all political prisoners hanged between 1960 and 1990 by the apartheid government.
The Cato Manor 9 are: Thembinkosi Schoolboy Mthembu, Fanozi Brian Mgubungu, Msayineke Daniel Khuzwayo, Sililo Joseph Miya, Payiyana Dladla, Mahemu Goqo, Maqandeni Lushozi, Thompson Chamane and Mhlawungeni Joe Khuzwayo.
They were hanged in 1961 after being convicted of being behind the killing of nine apartheid police officers (five blacks and four whites) who were raiding the informal settlement of Cato Manor (known as Umkhumbane) in Durban, looking for illegal liqour.
As a form of emotional punishment, the apartheid state retained their bodies and buried them in Pretoria - as it did with those of political prisoners and other criminals.
Chrispin Phiri, spokesperson for the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, said the reburial would be presided over by Minister Ronald Lamola at Umkhumbane Museum.
He added that the reburial would bring closure to the families of the nine prisoners, and would also honour their legacy.
Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Bulelwa Makeke, when asked whether anyone would be prosecuted for the emotional torture of the families of the nine, said the families suffered greatly from not being allowed to bury their loved ones who had been executed.
She said they wanted to allow them to properly bury their loved ones.
“The goal of the recovery of the bodies of the Cato Manor 9 is to rectify the wrong that was done in withholding the bodies of those executed, and to enable the families to bury them at last,” Makeke said.
According to the SA History Online repository, the killing of the police officers resulted in an emergency meeting in Parliament where the then minister of justice Frans Erasmus refused to appoint a commission of inquiry.