Families of slain anti-apartheid activists have received the mortal remains of their loved ones at Pretoria’s Freedom Park.
The families will now be able to give their relatives a proper burial, closing a painful chapter.
The remains of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) members known as the “Krugersdorp Four” finally come. They were sentenced to death in 1963 after being convicted of the fatal shooting of a member of the security police.
The remains of two others are of African National Congress (ANC) members.
Justice Minister Michael Masutha says South Africans from various backgrounds contributed immensely to the struggle for democracy.
“The six individuals lying before us tell us about different parts of our painful past. All sought to contribute to the struggle for democracy in different ways and today we pay tribute to that contribution and the price they paid.”
“Their families gathered here before us have waited decades to be able to recover their remains and to be able to bury them at the place of their choice. They will no longer lie in unmarked graves but will be buried by their families at their homes,” Masutha said.
Masutha was speaking during the handing over the exhumed remains of anti-apartheid activists at Freedom Park in Pretoria. The ceremony forms part of the Department’s efforts to implement the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bring closure to the families of those whose lives were lost during the apartheid era.
Both the PAC and ANC acknowledged the work done.
PAC leader Narius Moloto says:”The freedom that we’re talking about we’re living in today, did not come free. There are those who paid with their own lives and that the families that have contributed immensely for where we are today, therefore we should never ever take the freedom in the democracy that we’re in for granted.”
ANC’s Mafika Mahlangu says:”We acknowledge the NPA to try at least to bring our comrades so that we bury them and give them a very revolutionary burial.”
There are still challenges in finding those who disappeared under political circumstances.
Michael Masutha says”Some of the challenges faced include the cases of those who died in exile, those whose whereabouts are known only to a small group of perpetrators whose identities are not known, and those where records no longer exist.”
“Nevertheless, the government remains committed to the search in order to bring some form of closure to the families of the missing including symbolic reburial ceremonies where remains cannot be found.”
Masutha says the Gallows Exhumation Project is nearly complete, it’s recovering the remains of those who were hanged.
Masutha says the six individuals whose remains were handed over to families, have contribute, in a different ways, to the freedom the country enjoys.