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Thu Jun 30 06:56:14 SAST 2016

Struggle heroes hanged in Pretoria to be found and laid to rest

Bongani Nkosi | 23 March, 2016 14:17
Members of MKMVA unveilling the tombstone belonging to "Moroka Three", Thelle Simon Mogoerane, Thabo Marcus Motaung and Semano Jerry Mosololi who were executed on the 9 June 1984.
Image by: Bafana Mahlangu/Sowetan.

The exhumation of the remains of political prisoners the Apartheid government hanged in Pretoria's prison and buried in unmarked graves will begin next month.

On Wednesday‚ Justice Minister Michael Masutha launched the Gallows Exhumation Project at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre‚ through which the government will recover the remains of 83 freedom fighters executed and buried at the prison.

A total of 130 political prisoners – most of them members of the Pan Africanist Congress' armed wing Poqo‚ the African National Congress' armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and the United Democratic Front – were hanged at the prison betwween 1960 and 1990.

They were buried in unmarked graves in areas including Atteridgeville‚ Mamelodi and Laudium.

The remains of 47 of these prisoners have already been exhumed over the years‚ including the ANC's Solomon Mahlangu.

April 6 will mark 37 years since Mahlangu was hanged at the prison. He was an MK operative who was convicted by the apartheid government of murder and terrorism.

His remains were exhumed and reburied in 1993.

Launching the project on Wednesday‚ Masutha said these were the heroes who died for the true freedom of the country.

“Let this launch remind us of the huge task ahead of ensuring a better life for all our people as these heroes did not die in vain‚” Masutha said.

“Today we remember the sacrifices made by those who were hanged inthe course of the Struggle for a democratic South Africa‚ including Benjamin Moloise‚ Michael Lucas‚ the five Vulindlela family members hanged together‚ Thelle Simon Mogoerane‚ and so many others.”

The exhumed remains will be handed over to the men’s families once they have been positively identified.

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