The slow wheels of justice in the South African penal system have finally relented following the announcement that former Azanian People’s Liberation Army (Apla) cadre Kenny Motsamai will be freed on January 11, after languishing in prison for 27 years.
The decision was granted by the South Africa parole board.
Motsamai, a member of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) was convicted in 1989 for killing a white traffic officer in Rustenburg during an Apla-sanctioned bank robbery.
Aged 26 at the time, Motsamai, had just returned from Ethiopia after military training.
But while scores of anti-apartheid activists and operatives convicted during apartheid were released in the 1990s after getting amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Motsamai and other Apla cadres remained behind bars.
Ironically, 22 out of the 27 years Motsamai has spent in prison, were under the presidential tenures of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and the current incumbent Jacob Zuma.
A top ANC official who spoke to Team Buntu Africa on condition of anonymity said he was personally “bewildered” and “ashamed” that it had taken so long for Motsamai to be freed.
“They say there is honour amongst thieves,” he said. “But it seems that there was no such thing between the ANC and the PAC. Regardless of that Motsamai should have been freed along with the ANC cadres and political activists who were jailed by the apartheid regime. There is no doubt that he was carrying out the orders of the PAC when he committed the crime. So why was he left to rot in prison for 27 years when the Truth Commission pardoned people who had committed worse crimes on behalf of the apartheid regime?”
Team Buntu Africa is reliably informed that an estimated 100 other former Apla cadres are still imprisoned across South Africa for crimes committed at the instigation of the PAC.
We believe that South Africa, like every sovereign nation, has a right to formulate its own laws and for its judiciary to function without governmental interference. But we also believe that when there is overwhelming evidence that an individual or group are imprisoned unfairly, such as apartheid laws denied Nelson Mandela his freedom for 27 years, it is the duty of all fair minded people to question those in authority about disparity in the dispensation of justice. For that reason, Team Buntu Africa will write an open letter to South Africa Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha asking for clarity on the justification of the continued jailing of PAC cadres. We invite TBA readers who wish to participate in this campaign to send their names and contact details to our website email address firstname.lastname@example.org