Free Moses Mayekiso!

Over 40 protesters rallied at Union Square, San Francisco, on 24 August demanding: ‘‘Free Moses Mayekiso’’ and ‘‘Free All Anti-Apartheid Prisoners in South Africa.’’ The demonstration marked the opening day of the trial of Mayekiso, the General Secretary of the 130,000 member National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, and four other black trade-union leaders, who face the death penalty on charges of ‘‘high treason’’ against the brutal apartheid regime.

The protest was called by the united front ‘‘Committee to Free Moses Mayekiso,’’ initiated by the Bolshevik Tendency. Representatives of the BT, the Revolutionary Workers League, the Workers Socialist League and the Labor Militant group spoke at the rally. Unfortunately the other left-wing organizations contacted about the demonstration chose to boycott it.

The following is an excerpt from the call for the demonstration by the Committee to Free Moses Mayekiso:

‘‘Moses Mayekiso is not only the leader of South Africa’s second biggest non-racial trade union, he was also elected as chairman of the Alexandra Action Committee where he worked to link the power of the unions with the organizations of the townships. In February 1986 when the South African security forces attacked a funeral in Alexandra they were met with fierce resistance. The South African government then went after the Alexandra Action Committee. Moses was detained and suffered five days of beating. Brother Mayekiso has been central to building COSATU and served on the committees that drew up its constitution and planned its inaugural congress. If the Botha regime succeeds in killing this outstanding militant it will be a major defeat for the non-racial trade union movement and the entire international working class. ‘‘The situation of Brother Mayekiso is doubly dangerous because so far no major organizations of the anti-apartheid movement or the left in the U.S. have made an effort to mount a protest around this vital case. It is the duty of all socialists and anti-apartheid militants and organizations to demand and work for the release of Moses Mayekiso and all victims of apartheid terror.’’

Published: 1917 No.4 (Autumn 1987)