Date: 12 June, 1964
At the conclusion of the Rivonia trial in the Pretoria Supreme Court, Justice Quartus de Wet sentenced eight of the accused to life imprisonment. Among the accused were Nelson Mandela, the central figure in the trial, along with Dennis Goldberg, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi and Raymond Mhlaba. Rusty Bernstein and James Kantor were acquitted in October and December 1963 respectively. Charges against the 11th accused, Bob Hepple were withdrawn.
In passing sentence Justice Quartus de Wet said; “I have decided not to impose the supreme penalty, which would usually be death for such a crime. But consistent with my duty, that is the only leniency which I can show. The sentence in the case of all the accused will be one of life imprisonment…”
After 27years in prison, Mandela was released in 1990. He has served South Africa well and made us proud to be The Father of the Nation.
My wish is that future presidents carry his torch and follow his lead.