Lamola hands over the remains of the 'Cato Manor 9'
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola oversaw the handover ceremony at the Cato Manor Museum as the remains of the men were given to their families.
Thembinkosi Schoolboy Mthembu, Fanozi Brian Mgubungu, Msayineke Daniel Khuzwayo, Sililo Joseph Miya, Payiyana Dladla, Mahemu Goqo, Maqandeni Lushozi, Thompson Chamane and Mhlawungeni Joe Khuzwayo were hanged in September 1961 following accusations that they were behind the murders of nine apartheid police officers in January 1964.
Their arrests had come after a raid in an informal residential area of Cato Manor where police officers had been stoned and stabbed during clashes with residents who had objected to the raid.
Of the several people who had been arrested, 10 were eventually sentenced to death, with one successfully appealing the sentence, while the other nine’s appeals were rejected.
“Their bodies were exhumed in December last year by the TRC Unit in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Missing Persons Task Team of the National Prosecuting Authority,” said Lamola.
“Cato Manor has a decorated history in the Struggle for liberation. The men that lie here now are a testimony to this fact,” he said.
He hailed the area of Cato Manor as one that had always been a site of Struggle and the backbone of Durban’s development.
“Like many of our heroes these men lying before us today were killed at the gallows in Pretoria. They were killed by an inhumane regime and so-called justice was dispensed in the form of the death penalty.”
He said violence should not be society’s default position to conflict resolution, adding that it was community members who could begin to take their destinies and futures into their hands and begin to rid their communities of violence.
He told the families and loved ones of the men to take comfort in the knowledge that their sons had contributed to the freedom that the country enjoys today.
“They did not die in vain, may their memories live on,” said Lamola.