Mac's statement before sentencing
MAC'S CLOSING STATEMENT TO JUDGE
STATEMENT BYH : S.R. MAHARAJ (Acc. No. 5)
My Lord although I have been found guilty I actually had very little to do with sabotage. I acted as a messenger, made my house available for the activities of the members of the Umkhonto and bought various items at the behest of other persons. It is true that I did other political work in opposition to the Government but this had nothing to do with sabotage.
When I was arrested a pistol was found in my home. This pistol had nothing to do with Umkhonto activities. I live in a rough area, Doornfontein, and I have a pistol for personal protection. Many other people, black and white in Doornfontein also have pistols.
I am 30 years of age and studied at the University of Natal and the London School of Economics. I grew up in a little town in northern Natal where I matriculated at the age of 17. My father is a cripple and even while at school I had to work in a quarry in order to earn money for school fees and books. I entered the University in order to study law. In order to do this I worked during the day earning £10 per month and had to live and study on this minute amount. I first obtained a B.A. degree at the University of Natal and thereafter I began my LL.B degree but after I had completed the first year LL.B the law faculty was closed to non-whites and I was refused a permit to study either at the University of Cape Town or Witwatersrand I therefore was compelled to go to Britain in 1957 to continue my studies and subsequently I read for an LL.B degree at the London School of Economics as a part time student.
After Sharpeville I felt that I had to return ultimately to South Africa to play my role in the liberation of my people. Even while I contemplated my return to South Africa, I witnessed from afar the banning of the organizations of the non-white people. I watched the Government steadily and ceaselessly close the doors to a peaceful transition in my country. I was dismayed by the unyielding attitude of the Government, I was angered by injustice, by the banning of the organizations, the arrests, the banishment of our leaders and the granite wall attitude of the Government.
Eventually I returned to South Africa dedicated and determined to assist in the struggle for the liberation of my people. I returned to South Africa where the struggle for our liberation had to be conducted illegally because there were no lawful avenues open in the struggle for liberation, in this struggle I felt that at last I was doing something.
We in South Africa are fighting for an end to apartheid, for the liberation of the non-white people, and we seek a South Africa where black and white can live in freedom and equality.
I, My Lord, am a reasonably well educated person, I am eager to work to earn a living to study in my spare time and be a law abiding citizen, yet in the country of my birth the universities are closed to me, I have no vote, I cannot go where I like or buy property where I like. There is no way of protest open to me other than sabotage. Whatever punishment your Lordship metes out to me cannot convince me that I have acted wrongly. I cannot see how morally it can be wrong to fight for one's freedom and the freedom of other people.