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Vote of thanks by the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Hon JH Jeffery, MP, at the Handover and Reburial of the Cato Manor 9, held at the uMkhumbane Museum, Mary Thipe Street, Cato Manor, Durban, 24 January 2020

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Minister Lamola
The MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mr Bheki Ntuli
Speaker of eThekwini Municipality, Councillor Weziwe Thusi
Mayors and councillors present
Director-General for the Department of Military Veterans, Ret. Lieutenant General Mgwebi
The family members present
Ladies and gentlemen
                     
It is an honour to extend a vote of thanks to all the different role-players who have played their part in making our gathering here in Cato Manor this morning possible.

Minister Lamola spoke movingly about the history of Cato Manor and impact of the forced removals on the community.

In a poem, called “Promise”, poet Mafika Gwala writes about the human heartache brought about by the forced removals from Cato Manor and how people here were torn apart from another. A few lines of the poem read as follows:

“At least we can meet at the Indian market
She said way back in Cato Manor.
Haven’t met her since.
She, pushed into Umlazi
Me, pushed into Kwa-Mashu.
She looks at the city from the south
I descend upon it from the north.
Looks like we’ve been both lost
in the grey dizziness of our townships…”

It’s a poem about loss.
And the families here today know loss – as they have experienced the biggest loss: the loss of a child, a parent, a sibling, a loved one. We hope that today’s ceremony will bring you some solace and peace in your heart.

As you know, the exhumation of the remains of all political prisoners - including the nine men whom we are honouring here today – forms part of the Gallows Exhumation Project which was launched in March 2016.

There were at least 130 political prisoners who were hanged for politically-related offences in the period between 1960 and 1990, after which the death penalty was suspended.

The apartheid state buried the deceased as paupers in cemeteries in and around Tshwane and retained custody of the remains of the deceased, thereby denying their families the opportunity to receive or bury them.

Of the 130 hanged political prisoners, 47 have already had their remains exhumed. Out of the remaining 83, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Unit in our Department and the NPA’s Missing Persons Task Team have exhumed 68 remains - including the nine community members from Cato Manor for their role in the 1960 uprisings.

I want to commend Thapelo Mokushane and the TRC Unit in the Department of Justice and Madeleine Fullard, Ambrose Ndhlovu, Deborah Quin, Billy Motsileng, John Mailane and Thabo Monyanyedi of the NPA’s Missing Persons Task Team for their efforts and for their sensitivity and compassion when dealing with these matters.   I would also like to thank City of Ekurhuleni’s Military Veterans Department for their assistance with this particular case.

Also a sincere thank you to all the speakers here today, for the messages of support and to the Premier and the Speaker for hosting us here in Cato Manor.

As we proceed to take Thembinkosi Schoolboy Mthembu, Fanozi Brian Mgubungu, Msayineke Daniel Khuzwayo, Silo Joseph Miya, Payiyana Dladla, Mahemu Goqo, Maqandeni Lushozi, Thompson Chamane and Mhlawungeni Joe Khuzwayo to their resting place, we are reminded of the words of Chris Hani. When he first returned to South Africa after three decades in exile, Hani said:
"I have lived with death most of my life. I want to live in a free South Africa even if I have to lay down my life for it".

We pay tribute to all the men and women who laid down their lives for us to be free. May they rest in peace.