Events

TRC unit hands over remains of an MK cadre in Free State

In continuing efforts of implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, MP, officially handed-over the exhumed remains of the former Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) cadre, Sechaba Lawrence Lesimola to his family in Theunissen, Free State on 16 August 2014. Lesimola was described as one of the committed MK cadres who dedicated his life in the fight against Apartheid.

The late Sechaba Lesimola was born in Theunissen on 7 September 1969. He received military training in Angola and was selected to join an MK unit that was to infiltrate South Africa via Zimbabwe and on 2 August 1988, a group consisting of five MK members was taken to the border of Zimbabwe and Botswana from where they crossed into the north of South Africa, an area where they were to conduct operations. Within 24 hours, the group came across members of the security forces around Alldays in Limpopo. On 3 August 1988, all five MK members were killed either by gunshot or explosives.

Minister Masutha said he was glad that the department went to the Free State for the handover of exhumed remains of the departed combatants. “His mortal remains shall, in turn, be committed to the soil of his fore-bearers in dignity. His fighting and fearless spirit shall continue to propel us to greater heights as we seek solutions to the challenges of the struggle for complete socio-economic freedom of our people,” the minister said.

The TRC had over 500 names of those who died during conflicts of the past. The Missing Persons Task Team (MPTT) in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has exhumed, handed to families and facilitated reburials of 97 remains of the activists.

The department has also developed Regulations on Exhumation, Reburial and Symbolic Burial of Missing Persons, provided monies in the President’s Fund to be accessed for exhumation and reburial purposes.

Ms Miriam Rantidi, mother of the late Sechaba Lesimola, expressed her gratitude for her son’s remains    “I thank God that, finally, I got closure with my son after 24 years of living in pain. His father passed away a few months ago, I could imagine how happy he would have been if this had happened whilst he was still alive,” she said.

Sechaba Lesimola had a son in Zambia, he is still alive. Deputy Minister of Military Veterans, Mr Kebby Maphatsoe said today’s youth should learn from Sechaba and other fallen heroes and heroines. He said the Department of Military Veterans will provide free medical aid and bursaries for children of the affected cadres to further their studies. “The family of the fallen heroes and heroines must be taken care of,” he concluded.

By Mokgethwa Ngoepe

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Published: 20 Aug 2014