Pretoria - The remains of nine members of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) armed wing, Poqo, who were hanged by the apartheid regime will be exhumed in Pretoria on Wednesday.
The Gallows Exhumation Project is carried out by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development together with the Missing Persons Task Team (MPTT) in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
The department said the nine activists were hanged between 1963 and 1967 following an intense political protest in Paarl in 1962 when PAC members based in the men’s migrant worker hostels in Mbekweni township undertook a series of campaigns and attacks on suspected informers and white residents.
''The period of protest culminated in a mass night time march on the white town of Paarl in November 1962 in which two whites were killed. In all, nine persons were killed by the PAC protestors that year and five PAC protestors were shot dead by police,'' the department said in a statement.
''Mass arrests and trials ensued in the years that followed, and 20 PAC members were ultimately hanged for the event. Scores of others were sentenced to terms of imprisonment.''
The remains that will be exhumed are those of Maqadaza Magushe, who was aged 32, Goduka Gelem, 38, and Mcdonald Mgweba, 30. The three were hanged on 30 May 1967 for killing a shopkeeper, Maurice Berger.
Titus Tembekile Nyovu, 29, was hanged on 14 October 1963 for the killing of a white resident of Paarl, Renschia Vermeulen.
Jonathan Sogwagwa, 30, and Vanele Matikinca, 35, were hanged on 27 September 1963 for the killing of a Poqo member, George Tshisa, who was suspected of giving information to authorities.
Joseph Bhazalele Mqitsane, 28, and Aaron Kinki Njokwana, 23, were hanged on 11 December 1963 for the killing of three young women who had transgressed Poqo rules.
All eight will be exhumed from Mamelodi West Cemetery where they were buried in pauper graves on the same day that they were hanged.
The 9th activist, Nkosencinci R Maseti, hanged on 26 September 1967 for the killing of suspected informer Klaas Hoza, will be exhumed on Wednesday from Rebecca Street Cemetery in Pretoria West.
All were hanged at the then Pretoria Central Prison gallows, now known as Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre. Tuesday's exhumation will start at 9am with families of the deceased present.