Detectives testify against members of the ANC and the Congress Alliance in the infamous Treason Trial

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SACTU

Thursday, 18 February 1960

On 18 February 1960, South African Police (SAP) detectives continue to give evidence at the Treason trial against the accused. The 156 accused in the trial were members of the Congress Alliance, which included the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP), the South Indian Congress (SAIC) and the Congress of Democrats (COD). Apart from these political organisations, some of the accused were members of labour movements, notably the South African Council of Trade Unions (SACTU).

The accused were charged with treason against the state, for having taken part in the Congress of the People in 1955, considered by the state as a conspiracy to establish a Communist Republic.

During his testimony, native Constable Herbert Fani said that 'Tshume', one of the accused,  addressed a SACTU meeting in Port Elizabeth on 13 November 1955. According to Fani, Tshume stated in a meeting that a Freedom Charter had been adopted by the Congress Alliance.. "We oppressed workers we want equality, nobody will be shot for nothing."

In addition Fani gave testimony against 'Ndimba' for addressing an ANC meeting, in Port Elizabeth on 20 November 1955. Fani quoted Ndimba as saying 'Today Africans must show we mean to get freedom. By our struggle we want the milk and honey of this country'.

References:
• Anon, (1960), 'Treason trial: More Police Evidence' from The Star (Available at National Library of South Africa, Cape Town Campus)
• Anon, (n.d.), 'Treason Trial' from South African History Online [online], (Available at www.sahistory.org.za [Accessed: 26 January 2011]

Last updated : 18-Feb-2015

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