Mayekiso Acquittal: A Victory for the Oppressed!

On April 24 the international proletariat and the oppressed masses of South Africa won a victory when Moses Mayekiso, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and his four co-defendants were acquitted by South African justice P. J. van der Walt almost three years after they were arrested. Mayekiso and his comrades, (his brother Mzwanele, Paul Tshabalala, Richard Mdakane and Ibed Bapela) spent two and a half years in jail after being charged with ‘‘treason’’ to the apartheid state. The labor-centered international campaign against the frame-up initiated by NUMSA proved once again the power of international working class solidarity. NUMSA workers staged numerous strikes and demonstrations under the slogan, ‘‘Release Mayekiso and all detainees!’’

The Bolshevik Tendency contributed to this international campaign by initiating the Committee to Free Moses Mayekiso in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the year and a half which we were involved in the committee it organized three demonstrations, a successful defense benefit concert, several public meetings and distributed thousands of brochures and leaflets publicizing the case. It also obtained the endorsement of a significant number of unions, left groups and black community organizations. The victory won by the Alexandra Five underlines the necessity for anti-sectarian, non-partisan, principled class-struggle defense efforts on behalf of all class-war prisoners and offers renewed hope for all the victims of racist injustice languishing in apartheid’s dungeons.

Published: 1917 No.6 (Summer 1989)