Bartholomew Hlapane

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Biographical information


Member of the ANC and SACP, state witness in many political trials

First name: 
Middle name: 
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Date of birth: 
Location of birth: 
Ficksburg,Orange Free State,South Africa
Date of death: 
Location of death: 
Soweto,Johannesburg,South Africa

Bartholomew  Moru Hlapane was born in 1918 in in the Ficksburg distric of the Orange Free State. Hlapane was a factory worker. A traitor to the African National Congress (ANC)and the South AfricanCommunist  Party (SACP),he testified for the state in numerous political trails in the 1960s and 1970s.He completed the tenth grade and joined the ANC while a factory worker in Johannesburg in 1948.He played an active part in the African National Congress from the time the Nationalist government came to power in 1948. Joe Slovo recruited him into the underground Communist Party in 1955,and he joined the party'Central Committee in late 1962.A defendant until 1958 in the 1956 to 1961 treason trial,Hlapane was detained for six months in 1963.

In November 1965 when Bram Fischer (who worked with the Defence Team in the Rivonia Trial of 1964) was arrested, charged with violating the Suppression of Communism Act and conspiracy to commit sabotage, Hlapane was used by the prosecution as a state witness. After being detained a third time in 1966, he became a state witness in the second trial of Bram Fischer,because he had been a link between key underground activists in the ANC and Communist Party,police used him as a prosecution witness in many later trials,including those of ffrench-Beytagh and Harry Gwala.He and his wife were assassinated by ANC gunman in their Soweto home on December 16,1982,nine months after Hlapane claimed in testimony to a United State Senate committee that the Communist Party controlled the ANC.


• S. Ellis & T. Sechaba, Comrades Against Apartheid p. 39
• History of South Africa: Segregation
  Gail M. Gerhart, Teresa Barnes, Antony Bugg-Levine, Thomas Karis, Nimrod Mkele .From Protest to Challenge 4-Political Profiles (1882-1990) (last accessed 17 January 2019)

Last updated : 17-Jan-2019

This article was produced by South African History Online on 17-Feb-2011

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