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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Robben Island: prerelease assessment



(a). D  E  T  A  I  L  S

ADVICE No. : 1/5868

SERIES No. : 1846


AGE : 41 Years


DATE: 18-12.1964

PLACE: Supreme Court Johannesburg

OFFENCE: Sabotage

SENTENCE: 12 years imprisonment


(b). B A C K G R O U N D

The abovementioned, together with four (4) others, was charged with  sabotage (actual).  Conspired to commit sabotage; transgression of Act 8/63 in that they received and paid out money to a company contrary to certain laws of the country and are  also charged that they belong to a banned organization.  They blew up post offices, The Fort, and railway lines and were in possession of explosives, weapons and ammunition.

He was born in Newcastle and received a good upbringing and university education.  He actively participated in sabotage, is an acknowledged commissar, and has visited countries behind the iron curtain for training.

(c). P E R S O N A L  C O N D U C T

He is one of the leaders group and is kept in the single section.  During 1972, he tried to persuade a guard to obtain a Regulations Book for him without seeking permission for this by going through the correct channels.  During 1973 he tried to convince a guard to let him have a newspaper while he was in Cape Town undergoing medical treatment.  On 17 January 1974, he defied a lawful order and was sentenced to 5 day's solitary confinement as well as dietary punishment.  (It is a copy of this charge sheet that later appeared in the publication "Sechaba".)  On 27 April 1975, he was also involved in an incident with Sergeant Swart and Warder Denton.  During recent counseling in January 1975, he was rude and wanted to walk out when he was questioned about his present attitude towards his crime.  His conduct is generally poor.

(d). A C T I V I T I E S  I N S I D E  P R I S O N

The prisoner has, since his incarceration in prison, obtained a B.A degree from the University of London.  He is also a registered student for an LLB degree.  He is exceptionally intelligent and has already a B. Admin degree that he achieved while he was a prisoner.  He is currently reading for a B.Sc degree and is registered this year for Mathematics II, Mathematical Statistics II and Applied Mathematics IB.  He currently serves as shoemaker in the single section.

(e). G E N E R A L

He writes regularly and regularly receives letters.  Since his incarceration to date he has received the following visitors:

Date of Visit. Visitor. Relationship

09.10.65. S. Maharaj. Brother

16.01.66. O. Maharaj. Wife

17.04.66. T. Maharaj. Wife

10.07.66. T. Maharaj. Wife

16.10.66. O. Maharaj. Wife

14.01.67. O. Maharaj. Wife

15.04.67. S. Maharaj. Brother

24.06.67. O. Maharaj. Wife

13.01.68. O. Maharaj. Wife

27.07.68. O. Maharaj. Wife

04.01.69. J. Singh. Wife's brother's brother in law

29.03.69. O. Maharaj. Wife

18.05.69. M. Naidoo. Wife's family with whom he
. lived previously

29.11.69. O. Maharaj. Wife and
A. Suminthra. Mother

21.06.70. O. Maharaj. Wife

28.11.70. O. Maharaj. Wife

05.12.70. O. Maharaj. Wife

28.08.71. O. Maharaj. Wife and
S. Maharaj. Mother

01.07.72. O. Maharaj. Wife

22.09.73. O. Maharaj. Wife

25.12.73. S. Maharaj. Mother and
A. Maharaj. Niece/cousin

29.12.73. V. Maharaj. Nephew/cousin

05.01.74. S. Maharaj. Mother and
A. Maharaj. Niece/cousin

14.12.74. S. Maharaj. Mother and
O. Maharaj. Wife

17.05.75. G. Maharaj. Brother

Prisoner Maharaj has only one eye (his left eye was removed) and is undergoing on-going medical treatment for a neck injury.  His attitude is to do as little as possible and to incur as much medical expenses for the state as he possiblt can.  His medical record in this respect speaks for itself.

He does not believe in religion or a Creator – he believes in the Theory of Evolution of Charles Darwin and says that everything has already been scientifically proven.

(f). S U M M A R Y

The prisoner will not easily abandon his principles and ideals.  The period that he has been in prison has only fuelled his hatred for the government.  He is not well disposed to the Government's policy and perseveres with his opinions.

He ties himself irrevocably to his crime and will never change his opinion.  He associates with other leaders outside in his beliefs and is also linked to left wingers.  For example, the charge sheet against him during a disciplinary hearing appeared in the magazine "Sechaba".  This magazine is the mouth piece of the A.N.C. abroad.

(a). During an interview with the prisoner on 7 August 1975, he said that as a result of his work, he has come to the conclusion that all the peoples in South Africa should have political rights and that led to his decision to commit sabotage.  He was a member of the "Indian Congress", "The South African Congress of Trade Unions", and "The Congress of Democrats are alieds [sic]" and that these organizations worked together.

(b). On the question of whether he is in favour of the homelands policy, he said that he foresees problems with this policy.  South Africa is a large and rich country but these riches are only concentrated in certain places.  Even agricultural land is only suitable in certain areas.  The riches of the country would thus be selected for the whites and the Bantustans would get the impoverished part.

(c). He maintains that the policy of separate development and homelands is the government's point of view and they determine the conditions.  If all peoples must determine their own future, then they should all participate in this first decision regarding stipulated conditions.  The country would be broken up into small areas and he is not in favour of that.

(d). During the interview he gave the impression that he will not keep to the laws of the land after his release and on a question of whether he would abide by the laws of the country he said, and I quote "The Afrikaners themselves could not live according to the law when they were down.  The law is a thing to be respected, but the law that I am asked to respect treats me as a dog.  Then you keep a dog at the bottom, there, one day the dog will turn around and bite you."  He elaborated about the discriminatory laws that he must obey.  He is not in favour at all of race separation and according to him the Immorality Act that forbids mixed marriages is one of the worst forms of discrimination and he cannot understand why such laws should exist.

(g). C O N C L U S I O N S

This man will create whatever problems he can for the government.  He will need to be under strict supervision upon his release.  He poses a great potential danger to the peace and safety of the country after his release.

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