1986: Andrew Sibusiso Zondo and two other ANC cadres

On this date in 1986, African National Congress cadre Andrew Sibusiso Zondo was hanged in Pretoria nine months after bombing a shopping center near Durban, with five white fatalities.

Zondo claimed he had intended to non-fatally target the South African Airways office at Amanzimtoti’s Sanlam Centre, but couldn’t find a functioning, available telephone in time to phone in his attempted bomb warning. Did we mention that he was 19?

Zondo, it turned out, had been radicalized by South African security forces’ indiscriminate violence against claimed ANC “strongholds” — and specifically by a still-infamous attack, the “Matola raids,” on neighboring Mozambique.

The apartheid regime wasn’t out to win hearts and minds. And it didn’t.

[T]here have never been any ANC bases or camps in Mozambique. There are residences … and if the qualification to make a home a base is only that the people in it can use a gun, then let us be told now: because every white man in South Africa can use a gun and there are weapons in every white household. Are these bases too? (ANC Acting President Oliver Tambo)

The bomb (actually a mine) was planted three days after a South African raid on Lesotho. One of Zondo’s accomplices later turned state’s evidence in exchange for immunity.

Both the ANC, which had an official policy of avoiding civilian casualties, and Zondo himself portrayed the affair as a regrettable rogue operation carried out unofficially by an understandably frustrated cadre.

It was not the last word in the bloody tit-for-tat

Two other persons suspected of being involved in the Amanzimtoti blast, Mr Phumezo Nxiweni and Mr Stanley Sipho Bhila, were [extrajudicially] executed by Security Branch members after they were acquitted in court … At Andrew Zondo’s memorial service, his brother was so severely assaulted that he developed epilepsy, which subsequently killed him. Two mourners were shot dead leaving his parents’ home after the memorial service. Lembede, one of the security policemen involved in the killing of Zondo’s alleged accomplice, was himself later killed, allegedly by members of MK.

Hanged along with Zondo were two unrelated ANC cadres, plus three unrelated common criminals.

I have no information about the criminals, but the other revolutionaries to swing were Clarence Lucky Payi and Sipho Brigitte Xulu (or Sipho Bridget Xulu — but a guy, by either name).

Payi and Xulu assassinated another ANC agent, Benjamin Langa, the brother of present-day South African Chief Jutsice Pius Langa.

South Africa’s post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission has officially attributed the murder to a false flag operation conducted by Pretoria — whereby a mole in the ANC ordered the killing and, with its perpetrators’ subsequent execution, achieved for the white government “a triple murder … without firing a single shot themselves.”

A murky affair by any standard, and one that may not be entirely buried. There’s been some attempt (hotly disputed) to establish a sinister (if vague) alternate hypothesis linking current South African President Jacob Zuma himself to the Langa murder.

On this day..

12 thoughts on “1986: Andrew Sibusiso Zondo and two other ANC cadres

  1. Well, good riddance.

    It is a supreme tragedy that the government at the time refused to hang many more similar manifestations of unmitigated scum (no doubt out of a misplaced desire towards decency and humanitarianism) – many of whom are currently in the cabinet and actively engaged in robbing and raping the country into blind oblivion.

  2. Yes these heros??? Killing innocent people is not heroism. Its cowards like these that brought the hatred out between africans an whites. We both fought for this country against the British. We have just as much right to live here. So who’s country is it anyway?

  3. These terrorists planted bombs with the intend to kill innocent people. Andrew Sibusiso Zondo ‘s bomb killed five people of which three were children. That’s you hero!
    They will be remembered, but for the cowards and terrorists that they were.

  4. Let the spirit of lucky payi…barney molokoane….bra vick khayiyane….vin sekete and others live forever

  5. 1986 P.W. Botha’s year of confusion. They executed 3 cadres living within a raduis of 1km, how can we forget, Bra Lucky Payi, Brigdett Xulu, Andrew Zondo, Bra Ben Langa they all from my hometown kwa Mashu C and D section, it was a devastating year but the struggle continued. The freedom u fought for we have lived to realise it. Amandla. Your memories are still fresh in our minds long live your spirit and soul amongst us, we will tell it to the next generation.

    • Ben Langa was in fact executed by an MK operative on the orders of the ANC.

      Much like the ANC murdered about 18000 people in the Natal Midlands during the early 90’s.

  6. These heroes will always be remembered…..I cannot understand why the government is delibrating on the renaming of Kingsway to Andrew Zondo Highway…….

  7. we salute all our cadres who sacrificed for the freedom of south africa . i speak of andrew zonjdo, lucky payi, solomon kalushi mahlangu. we are where we are because of you comrades

  8. we the people S.A are still commited to fulfill the aims of NDR.Capitalism is our fundamental target.we must roll back the influence of Capital and redirect NDR TOWARDS NON CAPITALISTS PATH OF DEVELOPMENT.VIVA ANC ,SACP,COSATU ALLIANCE VIVA.

  9. we the people of south africa will not forget our heores who fought tirelessy in order to liberate africans in particularand blacks in general.as long as capitalist mode of production exist ,our mission will be uncomplete.

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