It is indeed beyond comprehension that after more than 20 years of democratic rule in South Africa, we are still talking about or referring to some South Africans as Political Prisoners, and this in the true sense of the word!
We don’t understand why after South Africans were long freed from the chains or bondages of oppression, there are still many of our brothers who are imprisoned for political crimes and face whatever future in many prisons across the country. We truly don’t understand why.But is it true.
It is really shocking that according to Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson in Gauteng, Ntobeng Ntobeng, Minister of Correctional Service, Michael Masutha announced recently that he “INTENDED to RELEASE all POLITICAL PRISONERS”.
This, after recent news that the EFF had joined a call for the release of Pan African Congress of Azania member, Kenny Motsamai and other political prisoners. Media reports indicated that the EFF in Gauteng called for the immediate and unconditional release of Motsamai and all political prisoners currently languishing unjustifiably in different prisons across SA.
Different political organisation led by the PAC have even during the 1990s after the release of all ANC members and those of other parties, called for the unconditional release of PAC freedom fighters imprisoned for political crimes by the apartheid security forces.
These calls for the release of political prisoners and freedom fighters were made even during the presidencies of former leaders like Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe but even up to now, political prisoners from Apla/PAC are still imprisoned.
Both former and current Correctional Service Ministers, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Masutha have on numerous occasions failed to resolve the problem of imprisoned political prisoners despite having met PAC leaders while even different committees which were established to address the future of freedom fighters failed to bring answers to the table.
In the meantime, time is running out for these fighters who by now should have long “paid for their sins” and should have been released. They cannot remain imprisoned forever. They are not supposed to be in jail. No Freedom fighter should be behind bars. South Africa has long been liberated and therefore we don’t see why there should even be talk or calls for the “Release political Prisoners”. What kind of freedom are we talking about if dozens of South Africans continue to be imprisoned for political crimes supposedly committed against the long dead and buried ghost of apartheid.
We call upon Minister Masutha to act now and not wait for tomorrow and release all freedom fighters or political prisoners if they were indeed incarcerated for political crimes.
Comment by Bobby Saul of 13 Martin Street, Galleria Arcade, Mafikeng.