Jeff Radebe, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, will hand over the remains of anti-apartheid activist Xolile Sam, also known as MK Valdez Mbatha, to his family at the Nangoza Jebe Hall in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Nelson Mandela Bay municipality spokesperson Kupido Baron said Sam’s remains were exhumed by the National Prosecuting Authority’s Missing Persons Task Team in June 26, 2011, as per the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) recommendations.
“Following positive identification of the remains, the TRC unit in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, which was established to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the recommendations, began liaising with all the relevant stakeholders to prepare for the handover ceremony,” said Baron.
Born in Port Elizabeth on July 2, 1957, Sam became involved in politics during the 1976 student revolt and went into exile in 1977. He joined the ANC’s Umkhonto we Sizwe, where he was known as Valdez Mbatha or Thabang, and underwent military training in Angola.
In 1988 Valdez re-entered South Africa as commander of a special operations unit in the East Rand area. After discovering his activities, the former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock and his Security Branch colleagues surrounded his house and arrested him.
Sam was tortured, suffocated and shot in order to extract information from him. Valdez died in the police truck shortly thereafter. He was buried as an unidentified pauper in a separate pauper section of the Vosloorus cemetery.
“His remains were positively identified by the task team following exhumation and are to be handed over to enable the family to bury him with the dignity he deserves,” said Baron.