The Bethal Treason Trial resumes

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Tuesday, 6 March 1979

The trial of eighteen suspected Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) members, which began in December 1977 and had already taken over 100 court sessions, resumed in Bethal (also known as State v Mothopeng and seventeen others). The defendants faced two main charges under the Terrorism Act, and a number of alternative counts under other legislation. Selby Temba Ngendane put forward evidence at this trial against his comrades. Zephaniah Mothopeng, who was also an internal leadership member of the banned PAC, was tried along with the seventeen other suspects in the Bethal eighteen secret trial. They were convicted and jailed for their alleged role in fermenting revolution and for being behind the Soweto uprising. Other notable members of the defence were Masina, Ganya and Zulu.

During the course of the 1979 trial of PAC members (the Bethal Treason Trial), four of those awaiting prosecution died in police custody. Namely; Naboath Ntshuntsha, Samuel Malinga, Aaron Khoza and Sipho Bonaventura Malaza. Vusumzi Johnson Nyathi, a detainee in the Bethal trial of the State v Mothopeng and seventeen others, miraculously survived after he was allegedly thrown out of the window during an interrogation session. Nyathi, who suffered spinal injuries, was later charged and found guilty of trying to escape from custody. He later sued the Minister of Police without success.

Source:

South African History Online

Last updated : 06-Mar-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011