Quoted in Luckhardt, K. & Wall, B. (1980). Organize or Starve! The History of the South African Congress of Trade Unions, New York: International Publishers, p.434
"Does he (Minister Vorster) believe that by sealing off these [house arrested] people in their homes or flats he will make Apartheid workable and just? Does he think that the non-White workers will now abandon their struggle for living wages and their opposition to Job Reservations and all discriminatory laws?
Does he think that if these few courageous voices are no longer heard, the people will abandon their struggle for a truly democratic South Africa with equal rights for all? Does he think that Bantustans will come into existence with no voice to say 'NO'?
And when he has turned South African life into one vast unfunny game of rugby with every non-Nationalist citizen 'marked' by a member of the Special Branch, what then? Apartheid will be as unworkable and as unjust.
Mr. Vorster has yet to learn that not even gas chambers or concentration camps can kill ideas. Nor can they defeat the will of an oppressed people to freedom."
The context of this statement by the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) was one of heavy repression by the state of high levels of political mobilization nationally. SACTU had become involved through the Congress Alliance with organizations like the African National Congress (ANC). A blanket ban on some organizations, including the ANC and South African Communist Party, of which many SACTU leadership were members, had effectively shut them down, at least from operating openly and legally. Draconian new 'security' laws (dubbed 'Nuremburg measures') and sustained police surveillance and brutal interrogation severely hampered SACTU's operation increasingly. In November 1962 fifty-two Port Elizabeth SACTU leaders, including Vuyisile Mini were banned. The removal of SACTU leadership through banning, detention, imprisonment and murder became crippling. SACTU was a major target of government repression, fighting for its survival.
The above press release and ones similar to it were disseminated internationally, which generated considerable international solidarity with SACTU. During the State of Emergency in 1960, the SACTU National Executive decided, as a strategy against repression, to develop an external mission. By the mid-1960s the political and labour movements had been successfully crushed by the Apartheid regime, and SACTU operated in exile.