For more than half a century mystery has shrouded the identity of the person who tipped off the police about the 19 members of the ANC hiding out at Liliesleaf farm.

Now Rivonia trialist Ahmed Kathrada says he now knows that the informer was an ANC member.


Kathrada said on Friday in Sharpeville that he learnt the identity of the traitor two years ago.

“I had a lengthy discussion with the last surviving [member of the police team involved in the raid]. He said [the police] found out about this farm because one of our own gave them the information.

“He [the police officer] said that to identify the farm [the informer] had to go with the police [to the farm] on [several occasions].”

Liliesleaf farm was bought in 1961 by Arthur Goldreich, using Communist Party of SA funds. It would become the nerve centre of ANC underground activities. In 1963 police raided the farm and arrested a number of ANC and communist party members. They included Kathrada, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Lionel Bernstein and Bob Hepple. Nelson Mandela was not at the farm at the time of the raid.

The raid led to the later arrests of ANC leaders including Goldreich, Andrew Mlangeni, James Kantor, Denis Goldberg, Harold Wolpe and Elias Motsoaledi.

“When we talk of traitors and racism, it is not only white people. Our own people . are also traitors, like this man who gave out the place. It was a black man, like us.”

Kathrada and fellow Rivonia triallists Goldberg and Mlangeni received the Freedom of Sedibeng district municipality on Friday.

The last three survivors of the Rivonia trial spoke of the problems facing the country and urged all South Africans to use only the accepted channels to express their dissatisfaction.

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