SACP’s Amos Mbedzi laid to rest

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The South African Communist Party member who was incarcerated in Eswatini for 14 years, has been laid to rest at his home village of Makonde outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo.

Amos Mbedzi was sentenced to 85 years imprisonment after a bomb explosion.

The Eswatini government said Mbedzi, Musa Dlamini and Jack Govender were setting up a bomb to blow up a bridge after receiving information that King Mswati would be passing over the bridge.

The government said the bomb exploded prematurely, killing Dlamini and Govender, and injuring Mbedzi.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at the Makonde soccer ground, to pay their last respects.

SAPC first deputy secretary, Solly Mapaila speaks to the SABC during Amos Mbedzi Funeral:

Amongst the mourners were representatives of political parties from South Sudan, Sudan, Mozambique, and Swaziland.

Mbedzi joined Umkhonto weSizwe in 1988 when he was a student at the University of Venda.

In 1989, he left the country to go to Uganda for military training. He returned in 1993 and was integrated into the South African Defence Force but resigned in 1996 to focus on his work in the South African Communist Party.

Mbedzi was arrested in Eswatini in September 2008 and sentenced to 85 years in prison in 2011.

This, after he was convicted of the murder of his accomplices, terrorism and unlawful possession of explosives and contravening the Immigration Act of  Eswatini.

His family says Mbedzi was denied medical attention while he was incarcerated in Eswatini.

Mkhondo Mbedzi’s son says: “When we made eye contact, it was the first day I see my father’s tears. He was like, young man, these are the tears of joy. Don’t think otherwise, I am the strongest man you know. He was not allowed to speak Tshivenda, but that day he said “ndikhodibua ngamanda, nikhoda”.

Mbedzi died last week Tuesday, at a Polokwane Hospital after the Eswatini government transferred him to South Africa in March, to complete his sentence because he was terminally ill.

The SACP says King Mswati of Eswatini must be held accountable.

Solly Mapaila, SACP first Deputy Secretary says: “This was one of our finest revolutionaries, comrade Amos Mbedzi. He was killed by the despotic Swazi government, and especially by its leader king Mswati III. And we blame them, the Swazi government for denying him healthcare and inflicting assault on his body and torturing him.”

Meanwhile, the People’s United Democratic Movement of Eswatini alleges that the explosives which killed Mbedzi’s accomplices and left him injured, were set up by Eswatini to assassinate the trio.

It says the charges faced by Mbedzi were fabricated by the government, after he survived the assassination attempt.

The Eswatini government said it would release a statement with regards to the allegations.

Pudemo spokesperson Lucky Lukhele says: “Firstly Mbedzi was unjustly sentenced and he lost two of his best friends, advocate Musa Dlamini and his fellow former defence member and MK comrade, Jack Govender. In one of the charges he was charged for murdering them how bizarre, that could be. So, King Mswati has killed Mbedzi and that is our first reaction because Mbedzi suffered a stroke when his mother passed on.