Uhuru-Spirit News


April 03, 2016 | Uhuruspirit

Former PAC President Clarence Makwetu

Former Pan Africanist Congress president and anti-apartheid hero Clarence Mlamli Makwetu has died.

The former Robben Island prisoner died in Queens Park in the Eastern Cape on Friday after a long illness at the age of 88.

“He passed on at 13h30 today in Queenstown Private Hospital‚” PAC spokesman Kenneth Mokgatlhe said in a statement‚ noting the party’s “great sadness”.

In their condolences, President Jacob Zuma called him a true stalwart and freedom fighter and the Nelson Mandela Foundation described him as a good cadre.

“Madiba spent seven years with Clarence Makwetu on Robben Island and he had great respect for him. He expressed his wish that all of us need to always think of good men and women that are found in our political parties,” said the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Sello Hatang.

Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Majola said, “In comrade Clarence Makwetu the nation has lost one of its true stalwarts and freedom fighters. We therefore wish to convey our deepest condolences to his family and his organisation.”

Makwetu‚ who was born in December 1928 in the Cofimvaba area of the Eastern Cape‚ was a political activist for 40 years from 1954 to 1996‚ when he retired from active politics.

Makwetu was drawn into the anti-apartheid struggle during the Defiance Campaign of 1952 organised by the African National Congress. He joined the ANC Youth League in 1954. He was part of the breakaway faction from the ANC which formed the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in March 1959. Makwetu as PAC branch secretary in Langa was instrumental in leading the marchers on Defiance Campaign for having to carry their passes.

For his unwavering commitment to the struggle against apartheid, Makwetu was arrested, jailed and banished on numerous occasions.

In April 1963, Makwetu was once again arrested and charged with furthering the aims of a banned organisation, the PAC. He was tried and sentenced to Five years imprisonment. On his way to Robben Island he was taken to Stellenbosch to face further charges but was acquitted. After serving an effective sentence of 5 years, Makwetu was released from Robben Island in 1968 and taken back to Transkei where he was restricted for two years until 1970.

In December 1989 he was elected leader of the Pan-Africanist Movement (PAM), front organisation of the then banned PAC. After the unbanning of the PAC on 2 February 1990, PAM was dissolved and Makwetu became the Deputy President of the PAC. On the death of the PAC president, Zeph Mothopeng, in 1990, Makwetu was elected President of the PAC. He served in this position until 1996.

In February 1991, Makwetu and Nelson Mandela addressed the Harare Meeting of the Frontline states, the Organisation of African Unity and Liberation movements. During 1991 Makwetu held talks with the ANC and the Azanian Peoples Organisation (AZAPO) in an attempt to forge a patriotic front in order to unite the liberation movements.

After the 1994 election Makwetu was one of the three PAC members in parliament.

In 2004, Makwetu was awarded the Order of Luthuli in Silver by President Thabo Mbeki for his contribution to the struggle for a non-racial‚ non-sexist‚ just and democratic South Africa.

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