Delmas Treason Trial starts

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Wednesday, 16 October 1985

The Delmas Treason Trial, up to that time the longest trial in the history of SA, started in Delmas, east of Pretoria. Twenty-two Transvaal United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders, including former premiers of the Free State and North West provinces, Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota and Popo Molefe, were indicted for treason in June. All the accused pleaded not guilty. The trial dragged from 1985 till December 1988, when  Justice Kees van Dijkhorst passed judgement. Van Dijkhorst convicted eleven of the twenty-two and sentenced them to terms of imprisonment ranging from five to eleven years. The Appellate Division overturned their convictions at the end of 1989.

References:
• South African Institute of Race Relations. (1989). Race Relations Survey 1988/89, Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations, p. 571.
• Stanford Introduction to Regional Profiles [online] Available at: www.stanford.edu [Accessed on 16 October 2013]

Last updated : 16-Oct-2014

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