Letter: Five victims of Poqo attack still remembered

The events leading up to and the consequences of the so-called Mbashe River attack that took place more than 50 years ago need to be placed in clear perspective.

The Herald report stated that five white construction workers had been murdered in a quarry (“PAC veteran joins fallen comrades”, February 20) and is not entirely correct.

Derek Thompson was burnt to death in his caravan, and Norman Grobbelaar, his wife, Elizabeth, and two teenage daughters, Edna and Dawn, were hacked to death. The men were construction workers.

Thompson was buried at the Adelaide Presbyterian Church and the Grobbelaars, I believe, are buried in the West Bank Cemetery, East London.

The victims had been attacked by a Poqo force – the armed wing of the PAC – and the deceased are remembered to this day.

Following up on a strong government response which included the use of helicopters, many from the village of Bhaziya were detained, of which 14 were tried and condemned to death.

They were executed at Pretoria Central Prison and their earthly remains have now been, after all these years, rightfully returned to the families at this village.

Those facing the death penalty were executed on the same day.

Five members of the Vulindela family were among them.

That, in my opinion, was the second tragedy.

Another family along with their friends had been wiped out in yet another totally abhorrent manner.

As put by Deneys Reitz in his book entitled Commando, which dealt with his experiences in the Anglo-Boer War, it was “a lamentable tale of things done long ago – and ill done”.

I pray that peace will now be found.


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