Dear Michael Masutha, South Africa Minister of Justice and Correctional Services
The subject of this open letter to you, Honourable Minister, concerns the imprisonment of Kenny Motsimai.
He is a member of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC), who was initially sentenced to death by the apartheid regime in 1989, for a crime committed in his capacity as a liberation soldier, under Azania People’s Liberation Army.
The facts of this case, as Team Buntu Africa website understands it, is that Motsimai, will be allowed to go home on January 11 after serving 27 years, following a decision by South Africa’s parole review board, to free him.
However, far from being an occasion for celebration, Motsimai’s pending freedom has exposed a truly astonishing level of injustice within your country’s penal system.
Millions of people, including South Africans and non-South Africans around the world will be horrified to discover that the ANC government has denied men like Motsimai a taste of freedom, even though they fought alongside it to end the evil apartheid system.
As you are aware, Honourable Minister, the last 22 years of Motsamai’s time in prison have been spent under President Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and the present incumbent, Jacob Zuma.
As a member of the ANC yourself, it cannot have escaped your attention, nor that of your predecessor, Jeff Radebe, that South African Courts, during the apartheid era, were finely tuned machines for dispensing justice according to the whims of the regime and the skin colour of the accused.
It was inevitable therefore that Motsamai’s conviction in 1989 for killing a white traffic officer in Rustenburg during a bank robbery sanctioned by Azania People’s Liberation Army, for which he was a cadre, was categorised as an act of terrorism.
It wouldn’t have mattered an iota to the judge who sentenced the then 26 year old Motsamai, that the state itself had slowly turned him and millions of other black South Africans into criminals.
Ironically, the vicious system of denying black people a decent education, job opportunities and ultimately full citizenship rights, simply because they were not born white, seems to have evolved into a sub-species of apartheid, whereby PAC members are being denied equal justice on grounds of party affiliation.
As a qualified lawyer with an LLB Degree under your belt, you are well versed on the tenets of law, and therefore professionally qualified to explain why the wheels of justice in South Africa’s penal system have been astonishingly slow for Motsamai.
From a layman’s point of view, we can’t help wondering if Motsamai would still be in jail had he belonged to the ANC, instead of PAC?
And we can’t help wondering too, Honourable Minister, what would have happened if the roles were reversed and you had joined the PAC and Motsamai the ANC?
Such is fate!
Of greater significance however are reports that there are at least another 100 other PAC cadres still languishing in South Africa’s prison system. Is there any truth in this, Honourable Minister?
We would also like to know why the ANC leaders, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Jacb Zuma did not order the release of their fellow liberation fighters from the dungeons of apartheid creation, after the ANC came to power?
Why wasn’t Motsimai and his Comrades freed at the same time as their ANC counterparts and some of the specialist killers employed by the apartheid regime, when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission chaired by ArchBishop Desmond Tutu was at work?
Will you do the right thing Minister and trawl the swamp created during the apartheid era – clear it once and for all – so that South Africa can move forward without any more embarrassing skeletons rankling in its cupboards?
TBA readers are eagerly awaiting a full clarification of this matter, from your office.