The inquest has recently been reopened into the death of the South African Communist Party (SACP) underground operative Ahmed Timol while in the custody of the Security Police in John Vorster Square police station, Johannesburg. In testimony to the inquest this week Salim Essop, with whom Timol had been arrested, said he had been assaulted and tortured so badly in custody that he had to be hospitalised. The Security Police claimed, and this was a version accepted in the 1972 inquest, that Timol committed suicide when he jumped from a room on the tenth floor of John Vorster Square on the afternoon of 27 October 1971. The lawyer for the Timol family, Howard Varney, argues that the police version was fabricated to hide the fact of Timol’s brutal torture.
Timol, a teacher at the Roodepoort Indian High School at the time, and Essop, a 3rd year medical student at the University of the Witwatersrand, were arrested after their car was stopped at a police road block in Coronationville on Friday night, 22 October 1971, and literature for the then banned African National Congress and SACP found in the boot. This included hundreds of copies of the SACP pamphlet Inkululeko, 787 copies of the leaflet ‘Sons and daughters of Africa’, and 447 copies of the leaflet 'The African National Congress says to Vorster and his gang: Your days are numbered'. Timol told police Essop was not aware of the documents in the car at the time.
Below is an extract from the first of these documents, and the full text of the second two:
Extract from “Inkululeko- Freedom, July 1971: Organ of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party”
“... Beginning with the great October Socilaist Revolution in Russia in 1917, the world Communist movement has made great strides and already a third of the world’s peoples are building a socialist society free from exploitation. The South African Communist Party is part of the army of Communist and Workers’ Parties throughout the world.
In our own country the White man boss still rules over the black servant with an iron fist. But the struggles of the last fifty years in which our Party has played such an important role, has brought closer the time when White supremacy will be absolutely crushed and the black man will be able to walk upright in his own land.
The path of struggle has been difficult and continues to be so. The foreign settler came to our country and with the Bible in one hand, the rifle in the other and money in his pocket, destroyed our way of life, robbed us of our land and cattle, and made us into chattels. South Africa became part of the world system of imperialism. Like all the other colonies in Latin America, Asia and the rest of Africa the indigenous people were first conquered by force of arms, separated from the ownership of all the economic wealth and turned into reservoirs of cheap labour to be exploited in the mines, factories and plantations owned by the centres of imperialism.
The invaders’ path was not made easy. For centuries the African people shed their blood in armed combat in defence of their birthright. Names like Shaka, Dingaan, Moshoeshoe, Rakana, Ngqika, Sokhukhuni and others fill the pages of our history as great military and political leaders who refused to bend their backs. The Bambata rebellion in the opening years of this century was the closing chapter in this resistance to conquest.
The ruling class set about creating the South Africa which we see about us and which is described in the Programme of our Party in the following way:
“South Africa is not a colony but an independent state. Yet masses of our people enjoy neither independence nor freedom. The conceding of independence to South Africa by Britain, in 1910, was not a victory over the forces of colonialism and imperialism. It was designed in the interests of imperialism. Power was transferred not into the hands of the masses of people of South Africa, but into the hands of the White minority alone. The evils of colonialism, insofar as the non-White majority was concerned, were perpetuated and reinforced. A new type of colonialism was developed, in which the oppressing White nation occupied the same territory as the oppressed people themselves and lived side by side with them.”
But the people did not remain dormant .New ways had to be found to meet the challenge and to win back our country. In 1912 the great national movement Oi the African people - the African National Congress — was formed to create a unity of the Black people to meet the unity of the oppressor. It laid the basis for the national [unclear] of all sections of the African people. At about the same time leaders of the Communist movement began to lay the basis for the [ ] organisation which – inspired by the great  teachers Marx, Engels and Lenin = saw national oppression as having its roots in the world capitalist and imperialist system of which South African became part.
These two great movements represent the two main aspects of South African reality – class exploitation and national oppression – and each of them have played a vital role in carrying out the task which face our people.
The links which have been forged between the various sections of the oppressed people (African, Indian and Coloured) and trade union and working class organisation were forged not in the classroom but in struggle.
We Communists regard it as our central aim to promote the further unity of the national democratic movement for the liberation of our country as a step towards socialism. We also believe that the spreading of a socialist outlook can be a source of great strength in eradicating forever national oppression which has at its root economic and class exploitation.
We support with all our strength the policy of struggle which has been forced upon the people – the policy of preparing and undertaking the revolutionary overthrow of the White regime by force of arms.
WE CONTINUE UNDERGROUND
Our Party, the first political organisation to be outlawed, was driven underground in 1950. In the 21 years of its illegal existence it has added to its proud record of defiance and struggle. Communists have always been found where the enemy has been challenged. They are counted amongst those who have been hounded, tortured and hanged, amongst those who fill the political jails of our country and amongst those who have given of their lives in armed combat.
But whatever the sacrifices history has proved that our great Party cannot be destroyed. We are as indestructible as the working class whose political instrument we are – a class which, as the founder of Communism Karl Marx, said, “has nothing to lose but its chains” and which together with the working people on the land is the most revolutionary force.
The terror tactics of the Nationalist Government have only succeeded in forging a new weapon against them. Today the liberation movement is poised for a new round of struggle. The opening battles of guerrilla warfare were fought by the military organisation, Umkonto we Sizwe, together with their brothers in Zimbabwe as long ago as 1967. Inside the country both the ANC and the Communist Party continue to function, organising and preparing the people for the final overthrow of White supremacy.
THE FIGHT FOR A NEW WORLD
In the 50 years since our Party was established the face of the world has changed. The first workers’ state – the Soviet Union – has become the pivot around which is being built a world system of socialism which stands four-square behind the struggle against imperialism and for national liberation everywhere. Although the former imperialist masters of Africa in alliance with the Vorster-Smith-Caetano axis continue their attempt to reverse the gains of the African revolution, great strides have been made towards independence.
Our brother fighters in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau, are proving in practice that a people's armed struggle is unconquerable whatever the resources of the enemy. And in Vietnam the biggest and strongest imperialist nation is being taught that the days of foreign domination by armed force are numbered.
On this our fiftieth anniversary the Central Committee and our whole Party salutes those who are constructing socialism and fighting imperialism. We reaffirm our confidence in the principles of Communism and internationalism, of victory for our people and for the working class and pledge:
* to intensify our efforts - whatever the sacrifices - to help liberate the mass of our oppressed people from race domination and to bring about an independent South Africa free from all forms of exploitation,
* unqualified support for the armed revolutionary cadres of the whole movement to spread theatres of armed combat to the heart of our country.
* the intensification of our efforts to build our Party as the Marxist- Leninst vanguard of the working class and to fortify it in the face of police terror.
* the strengthening still further of the unity of all true patriotic' forces as expressed in the alliance headed by the African National Congress.
WE CALL UPON THE WORKING PEOPLE OF OUR COUNTRY AND ESPECIALLY THE WORKERS AND OPPRESSED AFRICAN, COLOURED AND INDIAN PEOPLE TO UNITE THEIR RANKS TO RESIST TYRANNICAL DOMINATION IN EVERY SPHERE AND BY EVERY MEANS AND TO WORK FOR THE CONQUEST OF POWER BY THE PEOPLE.
LONG LIVE COMMUNISM AND TRUE INTERNATIONALISM!
LONG LIVE THE ALLIANCE OF PATRIOTIC FORCES!
LONG LIVE THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY!
[End of extract]
Full text of the leaflet “THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS SAYS TO VORSTER AND HIS GANG: YOUR DAYS ARE COMING TO AN END!”:
You teach that black is lazy yet wherever you look it is our sweat which makes your gold and money while even the most useless white stands there as our boss.
You pretend that black is ignorant. But you know that even our professors, our doctors, our lawyers and our teachers have less rights than, even the most ignorant white labourer.
You have the cheek-to say that in our own country black is foreign whilst every white immigrant who has never before breathed the air of Africa can come here and become our lord and master.
Like a lying thief you want the world to believe that the national home of the black people is in those little corners of our land which you call “Bantustans” whilst the natural home of every white is in the rich cities-we have built and on the land which you have stolen from our forefathers.
You think you can treat black people like children and you give us toy parliaments to play with whilst every white youth from the age of 18 can vote for the parliament which rules our country and the Bantustans.
Because you are frightened of us you spread the lie that the black people of the world are not fit to rule even in their own countries yet you know that it is the white imperialists governments who have in this century killed and maimed more people than at any time in history.
WE LAUGH IN YOUR FACES AT ALL THIS NONSENSE AND TOGETHER WITH OUR COLOURED AND INDIAN BROTHERS WE SAY “MOVE OVER OR YOU WILL BE PUSHED”.
WE WILL TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY!
HOW WILL WE DO IT?
We know that our oppressor who took our land by force will not hand it back without force. We have prepared some of our best sons to take part in-a people’s armed struggle. Some of these heroes have already fought the enemy in Rhodesia and put fear into him. In countries like Algeria, Vietnam, Cuba, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola and many other places, the new art of people’s war has-made it possible for an oppressed people to meet and defeat an enemy 1,000 times stronger in arms and equipment.
But as in these countries, so in ours, success will depend upon our readiness to sacrifice and, if need be, to die for our fatherland. A people’s armed struggle depends not only upon fighting men. It depends on the organised might of the whole people. The freedom fighter is not ohly the guerrilla with gun in hand, it is all of us—wherever we, are—in our factories,- on the land, in our schools and universities, in our churches and in our tribe.
The enemy fears our guerrillas and that is why he spends millions on trying to prevent us from beginning the armed struggle.
Just as the armed struggle needs special methods so do we have to learn how to organise our whole people in the new conditions in such a way that we outwit the enemy and defeat his security police and their agents and informers.
IN THE FACTORIES
We must resist the enemy's attempts to smash our trade unions completely. But we must also find new methods of creating the sort of organisation in the factories which will draw the workers into struggle for better conditions and- for an end to oppression. Those patriots who read this will know best how to do such a job in their own factories. Especially at the beginning we must go about It carefully so that the boss and his friends the police will not be able to act against every member of the leading group.
Some of our activity can best be done in a secret way like, for example, leaving a few leaflets lying about or putting up a slogan when no-one is looking. Get together with one or two of your fellow workers and discuss and secretly work out with them how you should begin organised work amongst the rest..
When you have made a beginning in your own factory try to make contact with workers in other factories and get them to do the same.
Remember, the great general strikes throughout our country ten years ago when hundreds of thousands of African, Coloured and Indian workers downed tools more than once to demand an end to oppression and exploitation. The government was terrified and for a few days it even suspended the pass laws.
Used at the right time and with proper organisation the strike is the workers’ strongest weapon. That is why organisation and resistance in the factories is so important not only for the improvement of conditions but in the freedom battle which our whole nation has to fight.
Don’t let the boss treat you in any way he likes. Get organised. Be careful but not so careful that you do nothing,
IN THE TOWNSHIPS
We all know the conditions we have to go back to after a hard day’s work. In the ghettos in which we are forced to live we must organise and inspire the people to realise their strength and to make resistance grow. Here too we must learn the new ways of beating the enemy. Get together with your trusted friends and neighbours. Spread the propaganda of resistance and the idea of organisation wherever there are people who are together. But do it in a new way—secretly and carefully. We must use everything we can. Even the government bodies—like-Urban Councils— can be used to help destroy those very toys which they try to fool us with.
If we work cleverly and carefully, every township can become a mountain of resistance in which the police enter at their own risk. We must get weapons secretly. We must find hiding places for them. We must think of new ways in which we can hit at the enemy. But to do all this we need even better and stronger organisation. This is the task of every patriot in the townships.
ON THE LAND
We will not allow the government to treat us like sheep chasing us from one bit of dry soil to another.
It is not so long ago that some of our brothers on the land gave the enemy a bit of their own medicine, in Sekhukhuniland, in Pondoiand and in the Transkei our men fought back when they tried to put their own paid servants at the head of our tribes. We still remember the Intaba which brave Pondo men and women set up, to run their own affairs. In Zululand the people fought bravely.
Working together with our brothers in the towns, we must raise once again the organised resistance of the people in the countryside. We must use everything to expose and defeat the enemy’s plans. As in the factories, so on the land, we must get together with those we trust and begin secret organisation to lead the resistance of our people-and to prepare for other things.
Find good hiding places for guns, food and freedom fighters. Learn the methods, of people’s armed struggle so that when you are ready to act you will have organisation behind you and you will have the people, the mountains and the forests as your shield, But even from the beginning inspire the people to resist the white man’s laws in an organised way and raise their fighting spirit and willingness to sacrifice.
Wherever we are, whether in the reserves, on the white man’s farms or in those hells they call the settlement camps, we must spread the word, organise and prepare for even bigger things.
AMONGST OUR YOUTH
Whenever people have fought for their liberation it has been the youth who were the fire of the struggle. They are the warriors for freedom. "
Our young people in the factories, in the schools and universities, have a special role to play. They must be examples of heroism and resistance. Every day the white youth are taught and trained to be ready to defend white privilege, to kill our people and wipe out any signs of resistance. We must answer this with our own strength so that the future will be ours.
In all places where youth are together they must organise themselves to fight both the little and the big battles.
The enemy fights us not only with guns but with lies about the history of our people. He tries to make us feel that black is weak, that black is inferior and that black is doomed to have a second place in our country forever. Let us answer their lies so that every black child will know the truth; that he is strong, that he is equal and that the future of our land lies in his two hands.
Youth of our land, you must learn the skills which will bring us victory. You must try to get a gun. You must learn to use it. You must learn to hide it properly until the time for action comes. You must organise every young patriot in your school and university. You must develop a pride in every young man and woman in his blackness, in his strength and in his future.
Young people who read this will know best how to do the job in the places where they study, work and live. But remember that organisation is everything. Much of what we have to do has to be done secretly and cleverly. Start off with some-of your trusted friends and build in such a way that it will be difficult for the enemy and his agents to smash you.
You are part of the people—of the workers in the towns and those on the land. Organise, prepare and fight back.
WONT THIS GET US INTO TROUBLE?
There can be no liberation without risking trouble. The methods we use must give the enemy as few victims as possible. But there is no way to freedom without sacrifice.
WHAT ABOUT AGENTS AND INFORMERS?
A man who sells himself to the enemy and betrays his friends and his neighbours to the, police is like a poisonous snake which must be destroyed. We must make them fear our strength more than the enemy’s strength.
WHEN DO WE ACT?
When we are ready. With the people behind us each attack by the enemy will find us not weaker but stronger.
What we all do in the factories, in the townships, on the land and amongst the youth is an essential part of the freedom fight; it is part of the building up of the forces of our people; to take back our land. Our mass actions in the towns and in the countryside will help and encourage those who fight the enemy with weapons in their hands. In the same way our armed freedom fighters will inspire and encourage people everywhere to spit defiance at our rulers. Together, these two streams will grow into a mighty river which, will end oppression forever in our own country.
THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS CALLS UPON YOU TO ORGANISE EVERYWHERE TO WIN BACK OUR COUNTRY!
LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS ON RADIO EVERY SUNDAY, MONDAY, WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY ON SHORT WAVE 1,19.44 METRES AT 8.45 P.M.
SOME THINGS A FREEDOM FIGHTER SHOULD KNOW
How to make a Simple Hand Grenade
Use a tin can with a fitting lid as a container.
Fill the can with black powder and sharp metal fragments and nails. About 4 parts powder to 1 part metal.
Any explosive powder can be used, including quite simply the powder from fire-crackers.
Make a small hole in the lid of the can. Pass a piece of fuse through the hole and make sure that it is in contact with the powder. Tape the fuse down so that it cannot come loose.
Press the lid in contact with the powder. Tape the fuse down so that it cannot come loose.
Press the lid of the can firmly into place and seal with sticky-tape.
Twitly twist a piece of wire around the tin, from top to bottom, so that the lid cannot be knocked off when the hand grenade is thrown. Light the fuse and throw at the enemy. On exploding the metal fragments cut the enemy down. The effect is greatest when the enemy is standing close together, and when he is taken by surprise.
Make sure you are behind cover when the hand grenade explodes.
Black powder is easy to make. It consists of 75 parts saltpetre (potassium of nitrate), 15 parts charcoal, and 10 parts sulphur. Separately grind these parts down to powder form. Mix thoroughly together into a paste with water. Dry out. Gently grind the mixture to powder again, avoiding friction. The powder is very sensitive to flame.
You can quite simply use the fuse from an ordinary fire-cracker, as long as it will burn for 3 seconds before detonating the hand grenade.
You can produce your own fuse by soaking a length of cotton cord for an hour in a solution of water and saltpetre. 4 teaspoons of saltpetre to one cup of water. Allow to dry and text the burning rate. Cut fuse to length required.
Text of “SONS & DAUGHTERS OF AFRICA”:
You have eyes and' ears.' When you look and when you listen to what is happening all over you suddenly realise that you have been left behind. You are alone. Every oppressed person you have heard about is free or is fighting everyday by all means. But the ones you admire best are those who are fighting with guns in hand. The African National Congress is going to put guns into your hands. .And you are going to have the pleasure of hitting back at last. You will avenge the massacres of Bullhoek, of Witzieshoek, of Sharpeville. Some of your; comrades, your own South African freedom fighters, have already tasted, battle and put the enemy into flight in Rhodesia.
You have hearts, and in your heart of hearts every one of our YOUTH - every African, Coloured and Indian Youth knows that one day he .must do something about.this hateful injustice, this blatant race discrimination, this brutal oppression and exploitation.
You are a student, you want to learn but the White man wants you to be nothing better than a half-baked native. He gives you a Bantu Education. And he never will permit you to reach the astronomic heights of the moon and the stars.
You are a young worker but the White boss wants you to be nothing more than a hewer of wood for him and a nanny.
You want to plough a piece of your own god-given land. He grabs it for himself so that for your living you must depend on the miserable wages he gives you for working on the mines.
You love to play sport and you have an ear for music, the White man’s racism hounds you round and denies you even the chance to relax and enjoy yourself.
You have a brain. And you know that this kind of nonsense cannot go on forever.
When you get the weapon in your hands, you know you are going to use it against this cruel enemy.
The enemy knows this and that is why he is arming to the teeth. Yet, you are not frightened.
You have heard, every African young man, every youth has heard the story of the battle the White man will never forget. You have heard of the disastrous defeat Dingaan gave them. Using simple weapons King Dingaan gave his order to his brave warriors: “Bulal ‘Abathakathi’ (Kill the evil men.)
And they were indeed, evil men – those slave owning colonialists who had vowed that there could be no equality between black and white people neither in church and in the state. These were the evil men who had robbed the Africans of their land.
What is important to understand about this battle is that Dingaan fully understood that he was dealing with a desperate, brutal and ruthless enemy. He therefore devised a plan of action that would meet the situation. You must dismiss immediately the White man’s attempt to portray Dingaan as a barbarian for conducting the battle the way he did. Everybody knows what the White colonialist police and soldiers do when the catch you without a weapon in your hand.
Dingaan used the well known military principle of DECEPTION and SURPRISE to crush the enemy.
Is it not true the main weapon in the White Colonialist arsenal have been tricks, lies and deception?
DIdn’t the White man wave the bible with one hand and a gun with the other? Doesn’t he lie when he says he bought the land from our people? Was he not cheating when he ‘bought’ cattle with mirrors and European wine?
The truth of the matter is that according to African law and custom LAND CANNOT BE BOUGHT OR SOLD. It is the property of the people as a whole.
But there are cowardly politicians of the liberal type who say we must not take up arms and fight for our freedom. They say we can never defeat the "military might” of White South Africa.
But Dingaan did. He destroyed them using simple weapons. His warriors used knobkerries and assegais.
Cctywayo defeated and utterly disgraced the British at the battle of Isandlwana. In the Cape our people resisted the While colonialist invaders for almost a hundred years in a series of wars. In the Northern Transvaal, Sekhukuni routed the Boers in many a battle. Moshoeshoe in Lesotho was never defeated in battle either by the Boers or by the British.
In modern times, we have seen how our brothers in Algeria defeated the French by fighting guerilla warfare. And in far away Vietnam a small nation is dealing devastating blows on one of the most powerful countries in the world— America.
History has shown that provided a people is UNITED and DETERMINED to win its freedom nothing can stop them. But like Dingaan, it will be necessary to use clever plans of battle to defeat the enemy. We must use surprise. We must use deception. We must hit and hit hard when and where he leasts expects us. We must use the tactics of guerilla warfare.
Dingaan used simple weapons against him. You too can use simple weapons to attack and rout him and take his gun.
That is an important lesson of Guerilla Warfare.
By tradition the younger generation in our society never takes the initiative in anything without first of all getting the the go-ahead from the seniors or leaders. The AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS, today gives you the right to go-ahead. You have the green light.
Many times, some of our youth come to the leaders, and say: "we would like to burn down the pass office, can we go-ahead?” The A.N.C. says "Burn, baby, burn!”
You have said you have no money to carry out organisational work. But there is a bank not far from you. You guys you must take it. That is our gold.
You have whispered that you know where you can steal a gun or two. Steal it man!
You are complaining that you cannot organise because there arc spies and informers everywhere. You even know some of them. Why do you allow them to have a good time by betraying the nation?
No one must ask where are the leaders. Some are in Robben Island waiting for you to come and open the prison gates. Some are abroad organising material support. But when the hour strikes they will be with you in the battlefield: Yes, Thabo, yes you there Nomsa, you Abdul, you Boitjie—you too are leaders. You are no longer wearing the boy’s pants. Daddy's trousers fit you. The fight needs young men and women like you.
Yes, we have seen enough of the enemy’s brutality. The spirit of some of our youth like Vuyisile Mini who was hanged, like Babla Saloojee who was murdered by the police stands as a challenge to our youth.
IN OUR HEART OF HEARTS WE KNOW THAT OUR TURN TO GO FORWARD AND SACRIFICE HAS COME. IT HAS COME!
We have to ORGANISE, ORGANISE AND ORGANISE. WE HAVE TO PREACH UNITY, TO BUILD UNITY. WE HAVE TO SACRIFICE. AND THEN DO WHAT?
In 1912, our people met in Bloemfontein to build unity. They formed the African National Congress. The A.N.C. went along the long road of peaceful struggle. The A.N.C. was schooling the masses through practical though peaceful struggle—preparing for the day that must come—the day when we make it a gun for a gun. In Vietnam they have been fighting for thirty years. It might well be that our period of armed struggle will be shorter
The A.N.C. has been tried and tested and proved to be the unyielding leader of our people.
* Nelson Mandela and other leaders are in Robben Island awaiting for you to come and open the doors.
Oliver Tambo is organising from outside waiting for you to stand up tall and receive a gun and FIGHT.
Yes, this violence of the While oppressors will be met by our revolutionary violence. If we fight guerilla warfare we cannot go wrong.
What must b done? We must do two things:
1. From inside our country we must mobilise the masses. Not in the old way. Tell them about our heroes, about the bravery of our warriors of old and of our present day freedom fighters who have fought so well in the North in Rhodesia.
2. From outside material help and the guns you need will be organised. The African National Congress promises today to place the GUN in your hands.
3. Everyone must know that a war means that you MUST KILL!
THE HOUR HAS COME! YOUTH. YOU ARE THE HOPE OF OUR LONG SUFFERING AND OPPRESSED PEOPLE. GET READY FOR BATTLE.
GET READY FOR BATTLE.
Source: Wits Historical Papers collection.