The Trial of Nelson Mandela (Rivonia Trial):
Statements by Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni

Statement from the dock by Elias Motsoaledi, defendant

My Lord, I am 39 years old. I was a clerk and canvasser. I am a married man and have seven small children. I joined the African National Congress in 1948 and remained a member until 1954 when I was banned from membership of this organization. Although I am a listed communist I did not join the Communist Party after it had been banned, but I do admit that I was on the technical committee of the Johannesburg Region and was recruited to Umkhonto we Sizwe during the end of 1962....      

There was nothing left for us to do except suffer [after the ANC was banned]. Then Umkhonto we Sizwe was formed. When I was asked to join it I did so. There was nothing else I could do. Any African who thought the way I did about my own life and the lives of my people would have done the same. There was nothing else....
I did what I did because I wanted to help my people in their struggle for equal rights. When I was asked to join Umkhonto we Sizwe it was at the time when it was clear to me that all our years of peaceful struggle had been of no use. The government would not let us fight peacefully anymore and blocked all our legal acts by making them illegal. I thought a great deal about the matter. I could see no other way open to me. What I did brought me no personal gain. What I did, I did for my people and because I thought it was be only way left for me to help my people. That is all I have to say.

In addition, my Lord, I want to say that I was assaulted by the Security Branch in an attempt to make me make a  statement.... More than three months ago they arrested my wife and detained her under 90-days. And when she finished her 90-days, she was re-arrested again. As it is she is still in jail. I consider this disgraceful on the part of the police, my Lord, that a woman with seven children should be punished, because of offences committed by me. That is all I have to say.

Statement from the dock by Andrew Mlangeni, defendant
The court can now see that some of the evidence given against me is true and some false. I have chosen not to give evidence, my Lord, because first of all I do not want to be cross- examined about people I have worked with and places I have visited in case I might give these people away. Also, my Lord, I have frankly admitted that I have assisted Umkhonto we Sizwe. I want to say that I joined the ANC in 1954. I did it because I want to work for my people. I did this because of the treatment my people have received from the rulers of this country. In the ANC I found a political home where I was free to talk against the government.

South Africa, my Lord, is a very rich country, the resources could be exploited for the benefit of all the people who live in it. This government and the previous governments have exploited not the earth but the people of various racial groups whose colour is not white. But the government daily makes suppressive laws in its white Parliament, which laws are aimed at suppressing the political aspirations of the majority of the people who have no say. I know that you, my Lord, have to administer the law, but when you do so, I ask you to remember what we, the Africans and non- white people, have had to suffer. That is all I have to say except to add that what I did was not for myself but for my people.... 
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