20 MAY 1983: COMMEMORATION OF THE CHURCH STREET BOMB, PRETORIA – AND JOHANNESBURG MAGISTRATE’S COURT BOMB 20 MAY 1987
‘Brothers and Sisters, Learn from Mandela’ In his book Long Walk to Freedom Nelson Mandela wrote that as a leading member of the ANC’s executive committee, he had “personally signed off” in approving these acts of terrorism, the pictures and details of which follow below. This is the horror which Mandela had “signed off” for while he was in prison – convicted for other acts of terrorism after the Rivonia trial. The late SA president P.W. Botha told Mandela in 1985 that he could be a free man as long as he did just one thing: ‘publicly renounce violence’. Mandela refused. That is why Mandela remained in prison until the appeaser Pres F W de Klerk freed him unconditionally. The bottom line? Nelson Mandela never publicly renounced the use of violence to further the ‘cause of freedom’.
When Mandela was arrested on his Rivonia farm hideout near Johannesburg, the following munitions and bomb-making equipment were confiscated with him and his comrades.
(Read his ‘Rivonia trial’ transcripts for all the details, starting with his heroic opening statement: “I am prepared to die…’ http://www.anc.org.za/ancdocs/history/rivonia.html – clearly he didn’t care whether all those innocent civilians whose tortured and mutilated bodies can be seen below, died either)
- 210,000 hand grenades
- 48,000 anti-personnel mines
- 1,500 time devices
- 144 tons of ammonium nitrate
- 21,6 tons of aluminium powder
- 1 ton of black powder
For the testimony submitted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by these terrorists themselves about the war they waged against the peoples of South Africa, view the TRC website – but also note that Nelson Mandela has never personally had to testify about his role in approving of these atrocities: http://www.doj.gov.za/trc/amntrans/index.htm
21,000 surviving victims of these atrocities testified; 849 people received amnesty; 5,392 people were refused amnesty: Archbishop Desmond Tutu ‘s Truth and Reconciliation Commission – which was set up to ‘wash away all the sins’ and ‘start with a clean slate’ (*under the new government after 1994), took the testimony of approximately 21,000 victims; and 2,000 of these survivors appeared at public hearings. The commission received 7,112 amnesty applications. Amnesty was granted in 849 cases and refused in 5,392 cases, while other applications were withdrawn. The work of the Amnesty Committee is available for review on the TRC’s home page: http://www.doj.gov.za/trc/amntrans/index.htm
20 May 1983 – Church Street bomb, Pretoria killed: 19 people – 17 men, two women (8 blacks, 9 whites)
The police investigation of the bomb explosion in Church Street West, PRETORIA, on the 20th of May 1983 at 16:28, brought the following facts to light:
- The bodywork of the vehicle in which the bomb had exploded, had totally disintegrated. The engine number had been scoured off. By means of the chassis number found amongst the rubble, the vehicle could be identified as a cream-coloured 1982 model Colt Galant. It had been stolen on the 19th of June 1982 from the premises of Mr V.A. Sabattier at number 5, Sixth Avenue, Edenvale. Amongst the rubble a piece of the vehicle’s number plate was also discovered. The registration number started with “SD”.
As a result of the explosion, 19 people died – 17 men (8 black, 9 white) and 2 women.
- Considerable damage occurred to buildings and vehicles in Church Street West between Bosman and Schubart Streets. The damage amounted to approximately R4 000 000 in the terms of 1983.
- Evidence was obtained that a cream-coloured Colt Galant with a “SD” registration number had been brought to the home of Bakayi Ezekiel Maseko at Block J 2824, Mamelodi on 20 May 1983 at about 11:00 by a certain Freddi Butana Shongwe of Block B388, Mamelodi. Shongwe asked a certain Jerry Shabangu whether the origin of a vehicle could still be ascertained after the engine number had been removed. He showed the cream-coloured Colt Galant to Shabangu where it had been hidden behind Maseko’s home. Shongwe mentioned to Shabangu that the vehicle would be used for a “great undertaking”, without saying what this “undertaking” would entail. Maseko’s wife, Anna, saw Maseko and Shongwe removing the engine number with an electrical sander.
- At about 15:50, Shongwe hurriedly left in the Colt Galant, with Maseko following him with the latter’s Kombi. They were in such a rush that they left the electrical sander outside the home where they had been working with it.
- From the 20th of May 1983, Shongwe and Maseko did not return home, and their families started looking for them.
- On the 28th of May 1983, Maseko’s Kombi was found behind the Poyntons Building in Schubart Street, Pretoria. The vehicle was not locked. Inside the vehicle, a jacket of Shongwe which he had been wearing on the 20th of May 1983 was found, as well as a paper bag, containing a portable radio. After the vehicle and its contents had been removed, the families started suspecting that Maseko and Shongwe might have been amongst the victims of the explosion. Maseko’s body was subsequently identified at the Government Morgue. His body had been found on the northern side of Church Street, right opposite the place where the bomb had exploded.
- After the explosion on the 20th of May 1983, several body parts were found scattered all over the scene of the explosion. On the 13th of June 1983 the feet of this person was identified by his mother as being those of Freddie Shongwe. Shongwe’s wife also identified a piece of trousers and a belt found at the scene, as items belonging to Shongwe. From the dispersal and parts found on the wreckage, it could be deduced that Shongwe had been inside the vehicle at the time of the explosion.
- According to evidence given by a witness who had been sitting in her car in front of the Nedpark Building in Church Street West, Pretoria, on the 20th of May 1983, a cream-coloured Colt Galant had parked in front of her. Immediately after the vehicle had come to a standstill, the explosion followed.
- On the 7th of July 1983, Anna Maseko handed the electrical sander, as well as the portable radio, to the investigators. Upon examination it was found that the portable radio discovered in Maseko’s Kombi, had been fitted with a remote control. Experts found this remote control to be fully functional. It was also able to detonate explosives from a distance. According to the experts, the frequency at which the remote control had been set, is extremely sensitive and could have been activated by other factors coming within the range of the control unit.
- In Maseko’s clothes in his home, cash to the value of R3 000 was found. Anna Maseko could not find any explanation for the origin of this money. She had used some of the money for funeral costs.
- Shongwe and Maseko had previous convictions for “housebreaking and safe robberies”.
- On several occasions, Shongwe and Maseko accompanied each other to Swaziland. Shongwe sometimes visited Swaziland as often as twice per month. Evidence was found that Shongwe had been seen at the homes of well-known members of the African National Congress (ANC) in Swaziland. Shongwe is a cousin of a trained ANC member, Johannes Mnisi. According to information received, Shongwe and Maseko had had contact with Mnisi in Swaziland. It was also established that Shongwe had last visited Swaziland from 16 to 17 May 1983.
During the activities of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), amnesty for the Church Street Bomb was granted to Aboobaker Ismail, former head of Umkhonto we Sizwe’s unit for special operations, and Johannes Mnisi. In spite of the fact that the ANC in the past had already acknowledged that the actions of its military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), “at all times had been subject to the political leadership of the ANC”, no member of the ANC’s NEC of that time ever applied for amnesty for the Church Street Bomb. http://www.afriforum.co.za/english/?p=874 More pictures at: http://pvj-kerkstraatbom.blogspot.com/
Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court 20 May 1987
Amanzimtoti Shopping complex KZN 23 December 1985
many more pictures at: http://pvj-amanzimtotibom.blogspot