DURBAN Oct 24 Sapa

MK CO-FOUNDER TELLS TRUTH COMMSSION OF ATTEMPTS ON HIS LIFE

Harold Strachan, SA Communist Party activist and co-founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the African National Congress' armed wing, on Thursday told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Durban that his family had been severley traumatised during years of victimisation.

Strachan, 71, said the trauma his family had been subjected to had resulted in the collapse of his marriage and had affected his son, Joe, psychologically.

His daughter, Susan, was also "very affected, she has problems settling down, and both (children) were unable to continue their education".

Strachan told the commission how he was shot at in 1979, allegedly by a young white man dressed only in his underpants and covered in oil.

"He had a revolver in his hand. He fired at me. As I ducked the bullet passed over my head and through the asbestos partition behind me," Strachan said.

He said the attacker was a Geoffrey Wright, who was subsequently charged with attempted murder.

The night before judgment was to be passed, Strachan's house was attacked again, apparently by men with automatic rifles.

"At 2.45am we were awoken by the sound of an assault rifle being fired at our house, from very close range.

"During the attack my son was asleep on the enclosed back verandah, some of the bullets passed within a metre of his head," Strachan said.

Wright was acquitted on technical grounds and later died in a car accident, Strachan said.

Asked by the commission if he needed counselling, Strachan declined, saying his years in prison had made him tough.


South African Press Association, 1996
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