GEORGE NEWS & VIDEO - A group of former political prisoners, called Ex Political Prisoners Association Western Cape, is trying to help members who have been left destitute and without any benefits. The group was established in 1994.
Speaking for the association, Sindile Adonis says they were the soldiers on the ground fighting for their rights during the apartheid era, but unlike the known few who were kept on Robben Island, they were scattered to different prisons where they were forgotten.
He says many comrades did not receive benefits. Now the association is trying, through sponsorships, to help these members with a parcel of food to get them through the tough times.
"It is not much, just something to show we care, and it can help those families to save a few rand to cover other items," Adonis says. They handed over about 30 parcels worth R300 to families of former political prisoners in and around George.
Adonis says these men were branded as criminals when they were caught, even if their involvement was limited to designing posters. The association is now trying to apply on their behalf for their prison numbers to be turned into force numbers, so that they can receive benefits like the soldiers they were - not only for themselves, but also for their children.
One of these men is Frank Mafu (54) from Lawaaikamp, who was arrested in one of the riots and sent to a prison in the Boland, away from his family and comrades. Years later Frank fell ill and could not do full-time work anymore.
Watch a video below:
Suddenly medical benefits were crucial, but he did not have any. And to make things worse, last year during lockdown he went to re-apply for Sassa disability benefits, but was run over right in front of their offices. He is now completely unable to work and in constant pain.
Adonis says that, because these ex-soldiers were deemed criminals, they have been denied many work opportunities over the years - they did not kill or rob anyone, yet are still seen as criminals.
"That is why were are fighting so hard for this to change, so our members can get the recognition and benefits they deserve."
'We bring you the latest George, Garden Route news'