Today in History



1997   Appearance of former ministers before the TRC

Four former cabinet ministers from the apartheid era appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The four were former Minister of Law and Order Adriaan Vlok, Foreign Minister Roelof Botha, and Deputy Ministers of Law and Order Roelf Meyer and Leon Wessels.

Former Prime Minister P.W.Botha was also subpoenaed, but his lawyers submitted a letter before the commission stating that due to ill health, he would not be able to appear on the 14 th of October. The former ministers were subpoenaed for their alleged role in authorising the killing of anti-apartheid activists. They apologised for failing to prevent the atrocities that were committed under the National Party (NP) rule but insisted that they were not aware of the activities of the South African Police (SAP).

The four alleged that it was difficult for them to pick out any signals due to different codes that were used and that they could not interpret their actual meaning. They only realised when they were called before the TRC that they had to account for something that they did not know about at the time and for instructions coming allegedly from them. Their answers were met with dismay by the Commissioners who asked why the Security Council had not realised that its instructions were misinterpreted by the security forces while so many people were dying in police custody or disappearing.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Logo/
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Logo/


Lucas Radebe, SA soccer star, scores his first goal for Kaizer Chiefs (6) in the game versus Wits University (1).

Lucas Radebe/
Lucas Radebe/


More than 150 000 people take part in seventeen marches countrywide organised by COSATU to protest against the Labour Relations Act.


1983  Moses Mbheki Mabhida awarded

Moses Mbheki Mabhida, trade unionist, politician and Umkhonto we Sizwe commander, was awarded the Soviet Order of the People and the Order of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria First Class on his sixtieth birthday. He travelled extensively and was highly respected around the globe, in particular by trade unionists and socialists. Mabhida, a generally self-educated man, was steeped in the Marxist-Leninist ideology and tradition.

1974   Minister promises relaxation of apartheid rules and elimination of racial segregation in sports

The Minister of Sport, Piet Koornhof, announced a relaxation of apartheid rules for sport and declared that the government is working towards eliminating racial discrimination in the selection of contestants for international events. South Africa was once excluded from participating in international games because of its segregation policies. It was reinstated in the early 1990s, where it staged and won the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

1931  Pretoria receives city status.