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Uncovering the truth is a priority for the SACP

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General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) Chris Hani, right, was shot and killed at the age of 51 by Polish-born Janusz Walus, left, in the driveway of his home in Boksburg on April 10, 1993. The SACP has begun a process to review the Hani assassination. There are numerous hidden facts that are related to the Hani murder that require re-investigation, says the writer. – Picture: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)

By Mbhekeni Nkosi

The SACP with its alliance partners, the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African National Civics Organisation (Sanco), gathered on April 10 at a gravesite in the City of Ekurhuleni to remember Chris Hani, the then general secretary of the SACP, who was assassinated by apartheid security forces in 1993.

A “lone gunman” arrested as the assassin on the day of the Hani murder on April 10, 1993, was released on parole on December 7, 2022, as a result of a Constitutional Court judgment.

Yet, Hani’s brutal murder remains unresolved. His murder was a result of a clandestine operation that had complex linkages with apartheid military intelligence (MI).

At the gravesite, Solly Mapaila, dressed in military combat gear bearing an insignia of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), said: “The assassination of Chris Hani was planned to stop our country’s transition from apartheid to democracy. Democracy itself is not freedom, but it’s a road to freedom.

“In other words, when we achieve democracy, we achieve the power of the people to transform their lives … Democracy is a road to freedom, and that road itself must be protected. At this hour in our revolution, democracy is under threat. Our own freedom therefore is under threat. These assassins also were opposed to seeing our society advancing to socialism.”

Mapaila added: “In their own words, they said they targeted Hani because he was a communist … Hani was a revered leader of the working class … the assassins killed him in cold blood. … (At) the Constitutional Court we were disappointed … (the assassin has been released) … we now want an inquest … Today we know that this message will arrive where it is supposed to go.

“The SACP is requesting the government to initiate an inquest on all circumstances leading to the death of our general secretary, commander Hani.”

SACP chairperson Blade Nzimande, in his address, stated: “On behalf of the government of South Africa, we regard heroes like Hani, and many others, as founders of South Africa’s democracy. The fact that they did not see this democracy does not detract from the fact that they are the founders. The government is committed to do more to ensure that this is recognised.”

Thulas Nxesi, in his remarks as programme director, noted: “We all know what comrade Hani (stood) for. We continue to experience the pain of his brutal murder, which was a big plan, not a plan by individuals … we want answers, and we will continue demanding answers. ‘Who was involved?’ We are here to commemorate that great man, that communist, that socialist, that soldier, the people’s leader.”

Nxesi added: “(At) the time of his (assassination), comrade Hani was the most popular leader after (Nelson Mandela). Maybe that’s why he was killed … but we still want those answers.

(Chris Hani) was an ANC leader, a general of uMkhonto weSizwe … in the trenches. (Chris Hani) was able to lead both the ANC and the Communist Party even if there were contradictions. He was able to deal with the issues of those contradictions … (that) are necessary, some of those tensions, so that we can grow into the next stage.”

The Struggle in South Africa is the struggle for socialism.

Hani was assassinated in the midst of the complexity of peaceful negotiations towards a democratic South Africa and in the middle of political instability in various regions of the country.

At the time, there were illegal activities within military intelligence in the apartheid regime’s South African Defence Force (SADF). These operations continued during the transition from apartheid to democracy.

The apartheid regime was aware of such covert operations – such as assassinations – and illegal military activities, but continued to capitalise on military intelligence covert operations in the post-1990 period.

The SACP has begun a process to review the Hani assassination. There are numerous hidden facts that are related to the Hani murder that require re-investigation.

The party seeks to uncover the facts that relate to the Hani murder and to piece them together to debunk the “lone gunman” theory.

The SACP is asking the question: “How can the assassination of Hani be understood in the context of counter-intelligence operations of the apartheid state and imperialist forces in the 1980s and early 1990s?”

Thus, in seeking a new angle on the Hani murder case, the first step that the SACP has taken is to call for a full inquest. This necessitates a re-examination of his murder. The Chris Hani Institute has also begun the process of re-examining the murder.

Dr Nkosi is a senior researcher at the Chris Hani Institute. He writes in his personal capacity.