Chris Hani, Former Secretary-General of the South African Communist Party
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INFO EXISTS ON HANI MURDER: SACP
The South African Communist Party (SACP) is adamant that
information exists to justify reopening the Chris Hani murder case, it said on Wednesday.
"It is not so much a question of new information, but old information
that we believe was never adequately followed up," said spokesman Malesela Moleka.
The NPA said on Tuesday the Hani murder case would not be
The SACP believed there were others involved in the plot to
assassinate the party's General Secretary Thembisile Chris Hani in 1993, apart from the two people convicted.
"We believe that the circumstances under which the gun that
killed comrade Hani reached Clive Derby Lewis needs to be
investigated, because it is an established fact that the gun was one of the weapons stolen by the [right-wing organisation] Orde Boerevolk from the South African Air Force armoury."
Moleka said a farm at which the gun was tested before Hani's
assassination belonged to the brother of ewis' fellow convict,
Janus Waluz - who had ties within the "apartheid military
"The SACP remains firmly convinced that there was a broader
right-wing plot in the assassination of comrade Hani."
The SACP has also called on the NPA to approach former
investigators of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), led by Advocate Dumisa Ntsebenza, for clues on the matter.
"The amnesty application by Lewis and Waluz was rejected by the TRC for not having spoken the whole truth," he said.
"We therefore urge the NPA to approach former TRC investigators because we believe a number of clues will emerge from that investigation."
Moleka said Hani's murder was one of the outstanding TRC matters and deserved to be put to rest.
"As the SACP we are asking for a reinvestigation, not as some
kind of vengeance, but to ensure that such dastardly acts never ever take place in our country again, and for all concerned, including the family, to be satisfied that all has been done to get to the bottom of the truth."
Pages From History: A Tribute to Chris Hani
Posted by Abayomi Azikiwe--Pan-African News Wire Pambana Journal, Number 17, 1996 on April 12, 1998 at 16:05:06:
Editor's Note: The following tribute to Chris Hani is reprinted from the Winter 1996 monograph in the Pambana Journal Series number 17. It is taken from a larger chapter entitled: "Reflections on the Question of National Reconciliation in Southern Africa". Hani was assassinated on April 10, 1993, during the transition process in South Africa.
Born in 1942 in the region of South Africa formerly known as the Transkei, Chris Hani joined the African National Congress (ANC) while attending Lovedale High School during the late 1950s. It is reported that he was recruited into the movement by his teacher Simon Makana, who later became the ANC ambassador to Moscow. Passing swiftly through the African education system, he graduated from Fort Hare College at the age of 19 with a degree in the Classics and English. After re-locating in Capetown, he made the acquaintance of the veteran communists Ray Alexander and Jack Simmons, who taught in the law faculty at the University of Capetown.
After being arrested in 1962, Hani jumped bail and along with his father went into exile in order to avoid prosecution. As a result of his high level of education in comparison to other exiled ANC members of the same generation and his charismatic personality, Hani became popular among the rank and file members of Um Khonto We Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the ANC. In 1966 he drafted a memorandum on behalf of disgruntled MK members who were calling for a change in military policy from the armed propaganda and sabotage phase to an active process of infiltration of cadres into the country for the purpose of establishing cells and arms caches in enemy held zones.
Despite the displeasure of some elements within the MK leadership over Hani and the dissident's memorandum of 1966, by the next year a high level decision was made by the ANC to engage in joint military attacks along with Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwean African Peoples Union (ZAPU) against the Wankie Game Reserve in southern Rhodesia. Although this series of attacks labeled the "Wankie Campaign", were not considered highly successful in strategic military terms, the psychological and propaganda effects were such that it propelled the liberation movements and their supporters in Zimbabwe and South Africa to grapple with the exigencies of waging a protracted guerrilla war.
Re-locating in the landlocked state of Lesotho in 1974, Hani organized units of MK which carried out operations into South African territory. By 1982, Hani had been promoted to Political Commissar of MK and held a large degree of influence over the new student recruits who joined the ANC in exile after the youth rebellions of 1976-77. When a large-scale mutiny within the ranks of MK erupted in Angola in early 1984, Hani was instrumental in persuading the dissidents to return to their barracks.
As the military attacks against South African governmental and commercial installations began to grow in number after the township uprisings in 1984, Hani's influence inside the ANC military wing was enhanced. His political influence and personal bravery were considered responsible for the increased effectiveness of sabotage operations inside the country. However, the level and character of the guerrilla war led by MK was still unable to move past the phase of sabotage and armed propaganda, despite the ostensible organizational policy of initiating a mass people's war. This politico-military objective was spelled out in Oliver Tambo's call for the militants based in the townships to render the apartheid system ungovernable in 1985 and proclaiming 1986 as the year of Um Khonto We Sizwe (MK) coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the national student uprisings of 1976.
By 1988, Hani was openly challenging Oliver Tambo's position of not attacking so-called "soft targets" in the ANC guerrilla campaign in South Africa. Echoing the calls by militants inside the country that the war must be taken to the white commercial and residential areas, MK launched a spate of bomb attacks in downtown Johannesburg, including the Ellis Park sports stadium in the aftermath of a rugby game. However, despite this stated aim on the part of the ANC military, which included Hani who was appointed Chief of Staff in August of 1987, the organization remained flexible enough to agree to the development of guidelines for negotiations with the apartheid regime, resulting in the "Harare Declarations" of 1989, which were largely drafted by the then ANC president, Oliver Tambo.
However, before the drafting of the Harare Declarations of 1989, and their adoption by the countries of Southern Africa and the Organization of African Unity (OAU), other developments earlier in the year would provide a further obstacle to the ANC strategy of initiating a successful military seizure of power over the apartheid regime. A high level meeting between leading Afrikaneer and Soviet intellectuals in London resolved that the solution to the South African race problem could only be settled through negotiations. Even though ANC representatives at the United Nations denied that there had been a shift in Soviet policy toward South Africa in 1989, the view that the medium of negotiation as a mechanism for the transferal of power to the African majority increasingly became the dominant language within ANC politics at the beginning of the 1990s.
With the granting of indemnity to leading liberation movement figures in early 1990, the armed struggle as it was previously conceived and propagated by the ANC had effectively ceased to exist even prior to the signing of the Pretoria Minute of August 6, 1990. Before the ANC cease fire of August 1990, the camps of the military wing in Angola were forced to close as a result of the Namibian settlement of 1988-89. The ANC was to re-locate its forces further north in Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia, in exchange for the withdrawal of SADF units from southern Angola and Namibia. Additional problems developed between the ANC international headquarters in Lusaka and the Zambian state in 1989, which resulted in the admonishment of the ANC by the Kuanda government for allegedly detaining some dissident members in contravention of international law.
Chris Hani, in an apparent move designed to position the ANC for negotiations with the NP regime, resigned as Chief of Staff of MK in 1991, in order to devote his full-time energies to the South African Communist Party (SACP) as Secretary-General. This maneuvering however, did not change the fundamental character of the racist apartheid state apparatus. By the close of 1992, 8,000 people had been killed since the release of Nelson Mandela and the unbanning of the liberation movements. Hani had led a crowd of 50,000 marchers from King Williams Town to Bisho-the capital of the former Ciskei homeland headed by the dreaded Brigadier Oupa Gqozo at the time-in August of 1992 during the Rolling Mass Action (RMA) campaign. During this confrontation, the Secretary-General, Hani, had been able to divert an open confrontation with the Bantustan police. However, the following month during a similar confrontation, the police opened fire killing an estimated 40 persons in cold blood.
In the months leading up to the assassination of Chris Hani, several interesting statements were attributed to him in relations to the power sharing agreement of February 1993, between the ANC and the NP. According to several media reports, Hani during this period openly criticized the nature of the agreements, which according to the NP regime, would only lead to the election of a transitional Government of National Unity (GNU) in 1994, whose task it would be to draft a new "non-racial constitution". Allegedly stating that the agreement would not hold for nine months, Hani purportedly claimed that in his capacity as secretary-general of the SACP he would forge a new extra-governmental alliance in the aftermath of the then proposed elections for the GNU in 1994. This alliance, according to press reports related to Hani, would encompass a broader based front that would fight for the rights and empowerment of the working people of South Africa.
These statements that were reported by the media internationally as being those of Chris Hani, seem to totally contradict his posture and role during the months leading up to his untimely death. Hani had repeatedly reiterated his commitment to a negotiated settlement of the South African situation; so it would have been quite puzzling that his view of the outcome of the early 1993 talks could be so pessimistic. The forces which plotted and carried out his assassination however, were keenly aware of the influence that Hani had over the most militant elements within the ANC. If there was to be a negotiated settlement and the creation of a Government of National Unity and an integrated defense force composed of former MK and SADF units, as did occur in 1994, Hani would have been an unavoidable candidate for a leading position in the new political and military configuration in South Africa.
Soon after Hani's assassination outside his home in the previously all-white suburb of Boksburg, near Johannesburg, a 40 year old white Polish immigrant, Januz Jacub Wallus, was arrested a few blocks away from the murder site. In subsequent weeks a broader conspiracy was unveiled involving members of the Conservative Party (CP) and the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB). Following its same posture of liberal rhetoric and repressive action, the NP regime of that time immediately dispatched thousands of police and military personnel into the African communities provoking clashes between the African masses mourning their lost leader and the occupationists forces of the white-minority regime. Although the regime condemned the killing of Hani, it was revealed that the murder weapon was traced to a SADF arms warehouse, which was supposedly burglarized by white right-wing para-military elements. Yet in the weeks following the murder of Hani, a united front of the white right-wing organizations was announced with leading proponents of this initiative being former top-ranking officers of the SADF.
It is quite obvious to the supporters of the process of democratic transformation and renewal of South African society that the struggle for black majority rule, national liberation and political independence still faces tremendous opposition from within the NP and the white South African community in general. Even after a complete year of an ANC dominated government, some whites were still demanding the creation of a Volkstaat (a homeland for the Afrikaner people). Mandela has offered a referendum on the issue knowing that the majority of whites would reject such a separatist and isolationist position. The murder of Chris Hani in the year prior to the installation of the GNU signified the extent to which the racist constituency would go in order to forestall the empowerment of African people in South Africa. The then Nationalist Party regime of DeKlerk had publicly announced that there were additional leaders of the liberation movement, including Nelson Mandela, who appeared on a list confiscated from the individuals arrested in the conspiracy to murder Chris Hani.
Despite the 1993 arrests of several white conservatives in the murder conspiracy against Chris Hani and the 1995 arrests of top military officials from the previous regime, including Magnus Malan, the former defense minister, a much broader and thorough investigation will be needed in order to root out the rightist elements within the military and the police who were, and still are, responsible for crimes against humanity in Southern Africa. Only the deliberations of the Truth Commission and other related task groups of inquiry can approach the question of Hani's murder in relation to the overall political culture of racist violence in South Africa. These tasks can only be carried out by the liberation movement in conjunction with other honest and principled elements that are seeking solutions to the eradication of the politics of violence in South Africa.
Abayomi Azikiwe, Pambana Journal, Series Number 17, Winter 1996.