Lennox Sebe

Names: Sebe, Lennox

Born: 26 June 1926

Died: 1994

In summary: Headmaster, assistant school inspector, advisor to the Paramount Chief Bazindlo Sandile, held the educational and agricultural portfolio in the Ciskei Territorial Authority, member of the Ciskei legislative Assembly and Chief Minister in 1973

Lennox Sebe was born on 26 June 1926. He completed his matric at the Lovedale College. Upon his completion he went to attend a teachers college. Sebe had a love for different sporting code. This was demonstrated when he captained rugby and cricket teams while at college.

King Williams Towncircuit. He also managed to complete a diploma in agriculture. Sebe became an advisor to the Paramount Chief Bazindlo Sandile. In 1968 he assumed educational portfolio in the Ciskei Territorial Authority. In 1971 he was moved to the agricultural portfolio. He made the biggest political move when he became a member of the Ciskei legislative Assembly and chief Minister in 1973. He got 26 votes to 24 of Mabandla to become Chief Minister. His support came mainly from government appointed chiefs.

After his election to the position of Chief Minister he formed the Ciskei National Independence Party. As a result of high esteem chiefs had in Ciskei, Sebe made himself a chief. However, he lost his seat in the Assembly when the Supreme Court ruled that the elections were flawed. However he continued with his job as a government adviser until he won another elections held later that year.

The internal fighting rocked the CNIP. People such as Chief Burns Ncamashe who were viewed as a threat to Sebe’s position were expelled. In May 1979 Sebe announced the establishment of Ciskei Police Force and the Central Ciskeian Intelligence Services. In 1981 Ciskei obtained independence from the South African government. This independence was endorsed by the referendum on 4 December 1980. On 05 December Sebe became the president of Ciskei with Rev. W.M Xaba as his Vice President. The Ciskei National Assembly bestowed the title of the President for Life on Sebe in 1983.

Sebe ruled the Ciskei with an iron first and ruthlessly crushed any opponent against him. Trade unions and his family members were not spared from the harsh internal security laws of the country. In 1983, Sebe’s family was plagued by a power struggle. Members of Sebe’s family together with vice-president W.M Xaba were detained.

Sebe adopted an iron fist approach on the trade unions operating in the Ciskei. A big number of the trade unionists were detained. The South African Allied Workers Union (SAAWU) was banned in August 1983 under the Section 91 (b) of the Ciskei National Security Act. The government accused the union for being involved in the bus boycotts. Sebe favoured worker’s committee with officials who had been trained for the job. His belief was that such committees would benefit both workers and employers. In 1979 the University of Fort Hare bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of Law on Sebe. He died in 1994.

References

  • Gastrow, S (1985) Who’s who in South African Politics. Ravan, Johannesburg, pp 276-278.