Dimitri Tsafendas - Exposing a Great Lie in South African History - ROAPE
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Dimitri Tsafendas – Exposing a Great Lie in South African History

Dimitri Tsafendas – Exposing a Great Lie in South African History

In the South African House of Assembly, on 6 September 1966, Dimitri Tsafendas knifed to death Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd. Shortly after, Tsafendas was declared to be a schizophrenic who had no political motive for assassinating Verwoerd. Declared unfit to stand trial, Tsafendas went down in the history books as a deranged murderer. Harris Dousemetzis exposes one of the great lies in South African history and shows that Tsafendas was an extraordinary man, with deeply held communist and anti-racist politics.

By Harris Dousemetzis

It was the 6 September 1966, when Hendrik Verwoerd, South Africa’s Prime Minister, known as the ‘architect of apartheid’, was stabbed to death by Dimitri Tsafendas, a parliamentary messenger, inside the House of Assembly in Cape Town. Tsafendas had originally intended to assassinate Verwoerd with a gun and then shoot his way to freedom; but, unable to procure a firearm and with his term of employment at the Parliament almost at an end, he decided to stab him instead.[1] Even though this left him with no escape plan, he still felt that, since he had the opportunity, it was his duty to carry out the killing. As he put it:

Every day, you see a man you know committing a very serious crime for which millions of people suffer. You cannot take him to court or report him to the police, because he is the law in the country. Would you remain silent and let him continue with his crime, or would you do something to stop him? [2]

To Tsafendas, Verwoerd was the ‘brains behind apartheid’, without whom the system might well fall apart. He was a ‘tyrant’, ‘a dictator who oppressed his people’ and ‘Hitler’s best student’ as he had imposed some of the Nazi Nuremberg Laws on Blacks in South African. This was how Tsafendas routinely described Verwoerd. Yet even before they had questioned Tsafendas, the South African authorities announced that the assassination had been the work of a madman with no political motive.[3]

During his first two days in detention, Tsafendas was intensively questioned by the notorious General Hendrik van den Bergh,[4] the chief of the investigation,[5] who later stated that ‘no person in South African history has ever been interrogated as much as Demitrios Tsafendas.’[6] Van den Bergh’s friend and Minister of Police at the time John Vorster, who became Prime Minister of South Africa after Verwoerd’s death, said of him that ‘if a man does not break after 48 hours of van den Bergh’s questioning, then you know that he does not know a thing.’[7]

Under questioning, Tsafendas made coherent statements explaining that he had committed his act in the hope that after Verwoerd’s ‘disappearance’ ‘a change of policy would take place’.[8] He added that, ‘I wanted to see a government representing all the South African people. I do not think the Nationalist Government is representative of the people and I wanted to see a different government … I did not care about the consequences, for what would happen to me afterwards. I didn’t care much and didn’t give it a second thought that I would be caught. I was so disgusted with the racial policy that I went through with my plans to kill the prime minister.’[9]

According to South African anti-apartheid lawyer George Bizos, Tsafendas’s statement meets ‘the definition of a political act’, showing that he was ‘a politically minded person and activist who opposed apartheid and colonialism. He clearly killed Verwoerd with the hope that apartheid would collapse without him.’[10] John Dugard agrees, the statement ‘confirms the view that Tsafendas was not insane. It reads like a very normal story of a politically informed person, angry with apartheid and Dr Verwoerd, determined to make a change, with nothing to lose personally. Really an incredible statement which was carefully concealed.’[11] Denis Goldberg, Rivonia trialist and anti-apartheid activist, believes that Tsafendas’s statement ‘clearly shows that he was politically motivated and not insane … the man is determined to kill the Prime Minister because of the racism … [Tsafendas] has a clear political opinion about racism.’[12]

Tsafendas also related to his interrogators his long history of political activism, from his membership of the South African Communist Party (SACP) between 1936 to 1942 to his time in London in the early 1960s, when he had attended meetings of the Committee of African Organizations and had held ‘the posters up’ at ‘anti-colonial’, ’anti-apartheid’ and ‘anti-racial’ meetings. In short, he was anti-racist, ‘anti-colonial, against slavery and in favour of all colonies which were controlled by Belgium, France and Portugal to be afforded self-government’.[13]

Tsafendas was subjected to the torture which, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, ‘was the dominant form of violation by the apartheid police during the 1960s.’[14] This included all the standard techniques of the apartheid police. He was placed in a cell without a bed, forcing him to lie on the concrete floor, often naked and in handcuffs. He received daily electric shots, was beaten and kicked still more frequently, and had his head placed in a plastic bag while water was poured over him to simulate suffocation. After the first week, things became steadily worse, as a new almost-daily ritual was introduced in which he would be blindfolded and his hands tied up, and would then be taken to another room while the policemen shouted: ‘Now, you bastard, now your time has come.’ They would place him on a chair with his neck in a noose, ask him for his last wish, and remove the chair, leaving him hanging for a few seconds. The policemen would then allow him to fall, explaining that it was not his time yet, but even so he would not get out of there alive.[15]

The Police Investigation

When the police began a detailed investigation into Tsafendas’s personal history, they found – no doubt to their great consternation – that his statements had been entirely accurate. In fact, he was such a dedicated activist that the South African authorities had four files on him.[16] Not only had he formerly been in the South African Communist Party (SACP); he had been banned from entering South Africa due to his Communist and anti-colonialist beliefs and activities in Mozambique in the 1930s, and those activities had also caused him to be thrown out of Mozambique and exiled for twelve years.[17] In 1936 in Mozambique, he had been fired from his job ‘owing to his Communist leanings’ and had been under suspicion for ‘disseminating Communistic propaganda’.[18] He had been arrested in Mozambique on several occasions for communist and anti-Portuguese activities; for example on 16 November 1964 on the charge of ‘making subversive propaganda against the Portuguese government and spreading subversive propaganda among the native masses’, after which he had spent three months in custody.[19] The Mozambican press had reported that Tsafendas was ‘violently anti-Portuguese.’[20] In South Africa from 1939 to 1942, he had ‘engaged actively in Communistic propa­ganda’.[21] Elsewhere, he had fought on the Communist side in the Greek Civil War of 1947–49, and in London he been a close associate and assistant of the ANC’s local representative, Tennyson Makiwane.[22]

Witness testimony from several sources further confirmed the picture of a violently anti-apartheid figure with deep political commitments. Edward Furness, a South African who had met Tsafendas in London, stated that he ‘was willing to do anything that would get the South African regime out of power’, including ‘civil disobedience’ ‘to create a resistance to the regime of South Africa’.[23]  According to Kenneth Ross, his landlord in Durban in 1965, Tsafendas ‘was very fond of discussing politics and gave me the opinion that he was well versed in politics. Tsafendas objected to the Communists being banished to Robin Island [sic] because of their political opinions and actions. In general, Tsafendas opposed to every decision taken by the South African Government and freely voiced his opinion to me. He was blatantly opposed to the National Party policy, the policy of the present Government, and was definitely pro-Russian.’[24] Finally, at least six witnesses said that three days before the assassination, Tsafendas had argued that it would be ‘justifiable’ to kill Verwoerd, since he was ‘a dictator and a tyrant who was oppressing his people.’[25] Just over a year before the killing, two men had informed on him to the police, describing him as a political agitator; a ‘Communist and a dangerous person;’ in fact, ‘the biggest communist in the Republic of South Africa.’[26] Colonel van Wyk of the South African Police was sent to Mozambique and Rhodesia to look into Tsafendas’s past; in his report, he described him as ‘intensely anti-white.’[27] The Commission of Enquiry into Verwoerd’s death also uncovered the fact that while living in London, Tsafendas had attempted to ‘recruit people to take part in an up­rising in South Africa.’[28]

One of van den Bergh’s first acts after the assassination had been to contact PIDE, the Portuguese security police, to ask them for their intelligence on Tsafendas. This prompted PIDE’s Chief Inspector in Lisbon to send a top-secret telegram to the force’s Sub-Director in Mozambique, ordering that any ‘information indicating Tsafendas as a partisan for the independence of your country should not be transmitted to the South African authorities, despite the relations that exist between your delegation and the South African Police’.[29] Instead, they should send a report included with the telegram, in which some of Tsafendas’s political acts were minimised or even left out. PIDE falsely claimed to have no file on him; in fact, their file (No. 10,415) dated back to 1938, when Tsafendas was just 20, and stretched to around 130 pages. Its first entry was made when he was ‘suspected of distributing communist propaganda’ in Mozambique.[30] Although PIDE held back some of their information, they did confirm that Tsafendas was ‘in favour of the independence of Mocambique.’[31] They could not avoid acknowledging this as his beliefs and activities were well known to his friends and acquaintances, and the Mozambican media had reported his 1964 arrest.

With all this information, together with Tsafendas’s own statements, the South African authorities – and especially van den Bergh and Vorster – must have been worried. Therefore van den Burgh set out to conceal everything the police had discovered, except for the small amount of intelligence that either was already publicly known or supported the picture that the government was trying to paint: an apolitical madman who had stabbed Verwoerd out of pure insanity. This cover-up continued throughout Tsafendas’s summary trial and the Commission of Enquiry that followed it. As Advocate George Bizos states:

The police at the time would have never allowed it to become known that Tsafendas was a politically minded person who had killed Verwoerd for political reasons; if this had happened, Tsafendas would have instantly become a hero of the anti-apartheid movement. Then, a trial of a politically minded person like Tsafendas, just like the Rivonia, would have put apartheid in the dock … it would have also been hugely embarrassing for the police to admit that a dedicated Communist with such a long history of political activism had managed to penetrate what was alleged to be a top security system … Communism was at the time the monster in South Africa, the Number One enemy, and the killing of Verwoerd by a Communist would have been a major blow to the prestige of the regime, but also a big victory for Communism. Verwoerd at the time was adored and accepted by most Whites in this country and the thought that someone had killed him because he disagreed with his policies would have shattered such an image.[32]

John Dugard stated:

The apartheid regime had two reasons for portraying Tsafendas to be insane. First, the regime wished to suggest that no one in his right mind could kill such a wonderful leader as Hendrik Verwoerd. Secondly, there was the security aspect. The security apparatus, led by the Minister of Justice and Police, John Vorster, wished to avoid accountability for allowing a political revolutionary to be employed in a position close to the Prime Minister. So it was that the media and the legal proceedings were manipulated to present Tsafendas as a mentally deranged person dictated to by a tapeworm.[33]

Tsafendas’s Life up to 1966

Tsafendas’s parents were Michalis Tsafantakis, a Greek marine engineer, and Amelia Williams,[34] his Mozambican servant from the Shangaan tribe.[35] Michalis’s family was of Cretan origin and was known for producing rebel fighters against the Ottoman occupying forces. Michalis was named after a particularly famous rebel – his uncle, Captain Michalis Tsafantakis – and he himself had become a committed anarchist while studying in Italy.[36]  His son was born on 14 January 1918 in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) in Mozambique, and was named Dimitris after his grandfather, Captain Dimitris Tsafantakis, another renowned anti-Ottoman fighter.

Tsafendas was born into a strongly political milieu: his father had held onto his anarchist beliefs and retained links with European anarchist movements. Intending his son to become ‘a conscious citizen’ and ‘a useful member of the society’, he frequently discussed politics and history with him. Tsafendas was soon attracted to anarchist ideas, and especially to the ‘propaganda of the deed’ (meaning violent actions such as bombings and assassinations). He was influenced by Luigi Galleani,[37] who argued that violence was a legitimate tool against tyranny and oppression.[38]

While still a teenager, Tsafendas was sacked from his job at the Chai et Kiosk for ‘voicing Communist ideas.’ Soon afterwards he travelled to South Africa with the sole intention of joining the SACP.[39] In 1938, a change to Portuguese government rules, intended to protect the domestic textile industry against competition from the colonies, caused economic troubles in Mozambique. Tsafendas was active in the campaign against the new rules, making speeches and handing out copies of the Communist Manifesto among cotton growers and his colleagues at the Imperial Airways factory.[40] This caused PIDE agents to place him on their watch list: they opened a file titled Secret Criminal Record nº 10.415 of Demitrios Tsafantakis.[41] By this time, Tsafendas had already become known as ‘The Red’ to other members of the Greek community; he had taken to wearing a red rose or carnation on his lapel, and would sometimes write Communist or anti-colonial graffiti.[42] According to a 1961 PIDE report, while ‘residing in that Province [Mozambique], he was twice a suspect of Communist activities, but evidence of such activities was never found.’[43]

Tsafendas’s family had moved away from South Africa in 1938. The following year, after a visa application failed due to his status as a ‘half-caste’ with ‘Communist leanings,’ ‘suspected of dissemination of Communistic propaganda’,[44] he illegally entered the country. While there, he was placed under surveillance for being ‘engaged actively in Communistic propaganda.’[45] The tipoff to the police came from the Commissioner for Immigration and Asiatic Affairs, who stated that ‘the above information is passed to you in order that the activities of Tsafendas may be watched, and I will be glad if you will advise me in due course should anything to his detriment become known.’[46]

After leaving South Africa in 1942, Tsafendas moved to the USA, where he spent much of World War II serving in Liberty Ships [mass produced cargo ships built in the United States to replace ships lost during the war].[47] In October 1947, he was deported to Greece, which  was in the middle of a bloody Civil War, and he joined the Communists who were battling against the Royalists. However, by the spring of 1949, with the Communists obviously heading for defeat and large-scale reprisals already under way, it was time for him to move on.

On 8 November 1949, Tsafendas was detained at Barca d’Alva on the Portuguese border and held there for three months by officials who suspected him of being a Greek Communist fleeing the post-Civil War persecutions; they did not trust his Greek Red Cross passport, nor his protestations that he was Portuguese.[48] The Mozambican police confirmed his nationality, but also confirmed that he was indeed a Communist.[49] After being moved from Barca d’Alva, he spent a further six months in Lisbon’s Aljuba Prison, an infamous interrogation centre for political prisoners.[50]

Tsafendas was released in late 1951 and immediately attempted to return to the country of his birth. However, he was denied entry as he was still on the authorities’ list of known Communists and anti-colonialists due to his pre-war activities, and was accordingly detained for a fortnight in Lourenço Marques before being deported to Lisbon.[51] The Mozambican police informed their colleagues in Portugal that he was a ‘Communist’ suspected of ‘unclear activities’ in the 1930s; he was therefore arrested on his return to Lisbon, to be questioned on these ‘unclear activities’, his involvement in the Greek Civil War and his present political beliefs. He was sent to another of PIDE’s detention facilities, Cascais (Caxias) Fort, where he was subjected to torture that included beatings and electric shocks.[52]

Upon his release, he remained under PIDE surveillance, including ID checks and house searches.[53] For the next decade, he kept applying for permission to return to Mozambique, but was always refused. He therefore began searching for a safer country to reside in. In 1954–55, he travelled to Denmark, Sweden and West Germany, returning to the latter country in 1958–59. He also made two trips to England, in 1959 and 1962, partly due to a wish to participate in the anti-apartheid movement. He attended lectures and speeches and took part in demonstrations, once carrying a placard which depicted Dr Verwoerd as a member of the Ku Klux Klan. He also joined fellow activists in street fights with members of the fascist, pro-apartheid Union Movement run by Oswald Moseley.[54] However, he was to leave London disillusioned after failing to convince other campaigners of the need for armed resistance against apartheid.[55]

Back in Portugal, Tsafendas broke his links with other radicals and took to publicly condemning Communism and expressing support for the Salazar regime, all in an effort to convince the authorities that he ‘a reformed man’ who no longer believed in independence for Mozambique, so that they would give him amnesty. His efforts bore fruit to the extent that he was given an amnesty, returning to Mozambique in October 1963.[56]

However, by this time, his family were living in South Africa and he was banned from entering this country too. Nevertheless, his family was able to convince a passport control official at the consulate in Lourenço Marques to issue him a temporary visa, and he entered the country on 4 November 1963.[57] He tried to convince his old comrades to join him in violent action against apartheid, but had no more success than he had had in London. Around six months later, he was back in Mozambique, where there was now an armed independence struggle taking place, with the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) fighting against the Portuguese colonialists. Being overweight and a slow mover Tsafendas knew he would be a liability in a guerrilla war.[58] He knew though that there were other ways for him to contribute. He moved to the Beira area and gained employment with the Hume Pipe Company, which laid and operated a petrol pipeline between Mozambique and Rhodesia. His aim was to learn about the company’s operations, with the eventual intention of blowing up the pipeline.[59] He also took on the role of a travelling agitator, roaming the region with a suitcase full of political tracts in an attempt to persuade the inhabitants to support Communism and join FRELIMO’s anti-colonialist struggle.[60]

PIDE learned of what Tsafendas was doing and caught up with him on 16 November 1964 as he was stirring up revolution in the small town of Maforga, five miles from Gondola. He was arrested for possessing ‘subversive’ literature and ‘making subversive propaganda against the Portuguese government and spreading subversive propaganda among the native masses’, and brought to Beira’s police substation to be questioned. Tsafendas’s story was that he was a Christian preacher, not an anti-colonial campaigner; this merely resulted in his being further accused of posing as a missionary and speaking ‘under the guise of religion in favour of Mozambique’s independence.’[61] Tsafendas denied this, but conceded that he did believe in independence, explaining that he thought Mozambique should be ‘governed by the natives of that Province, whether they are black or white’, rather than by Portugal.[62] In the opinion of the officer in charge of the cells, Inspector Horacio Ferreira, Tsafendas was ‘intensely anti-white’ and believed that ‘the Portuguese Government has never done anything for its non-whites.’ He also thought him a ‘normal’ and ‘very intelligent person.’[63]

The charges were serious, so Tsafendas was sent to the Sub-Delegation of PIDE in Beira. Having being held for two months for posing as a missionary, Tsafendas started claiming to be the ultimate missionary: St Peter, apostle of Christ.[64] Concluding that he was insane, PIDE initially transferred him to the Government Hospital in Beira, before deciding to release him on 19 January 1965, on the grounds that he was unfit to stand trial ‘at a juridical or penal level’.[65] Once he learned of this, Tsafendas miraculously recovered his sanity, dropped his St Peter act and was discharged from the hospital.[66]

Knowing that he would now be a marked man, he shelved his plan to destroy the pipeline, instead decided to go back to South Africa to fight apartheid. Arriving in Durban in March 1965, he contacted local anti-apartheid activists such as Rowley Arenstein, hoping to interest them in a plot to kidnap Verwoerd and hold him hostage in exchange for prisoners on Robben Island. Once again, however, his comrades refused to join him in any violent action. Resolving therefore to do it alone, he began to explore the idea of shooting Verwoerd from a distance. In July 1966, he started to watch the Parliament building in Cape Town; sometime later, he was able to get a job as a Parliamentary messenger, finally giving him access to his prey.

After the Assassination

In a brief summary trial, in which the words ‘Communist’ and ‘Communism’ were never even mentioned, Tsafendas was dismissed as a non-political schizophrenic; a madman supposedly acting on the orders of a tapeworm that lived inside him. His own statements and those of other witnesses were hushed up. Afterwards there was a Commission of Enquiry, which also discovered what sort of a person Tsafendas really was. However, its final report followed the same pattern as the police; the facts about Tsafendas’s political activities that were already public knowledge were played down, while the rest remained concealed. Tsafendas was depicted unsympathetically as a mentally ill loser, unworthy of any sympathy, and not as a politically committed person.

Tsafendas never received the medical treatment for schizophrenia that, if one believed the verdicts of the Court and the Commission, he so desperately needed. Instead, he spent the next twenty-eight years in prison, subjected to constant and extreme torture. For twenty-three of those he was held in a specially built cell at Pretoria Central, next door to the death chamber, where he could overhear the executions.[67] He himself was convinced that this was not simple mental torture, but a warning of his fate if he should ever recover his ‘sanity’.[68] He was often confined entirely to his solitary cell, barred from any contact with other prisoners; he was also denied access to any reading material.[69]

By the time democracy came to South Africa in 1994, Tsafendas was the country’s longest-serving prisoner. He spent his final years in the Sterkfontein Hospital, a secure psychiatric facility, having been transferred there by the new ANC government as his health had declined to the point where he could no longer live independently; he died there on 7 October 1999.[70] While Verwoerd’s remains are still in the Heroes’ Acre, Tsafendas lies in an unmarked grave. However, on December 2019, the SACP’s Special Congress reinstated Tsafendas’s membership posthumously and plans are under way to build a tombstone on his grave.; furthermore, the SACP held a memorial service on October 2019, on the 20th anniversary of Tsafendas’s death.

Harris Dousemetzis teaches at the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University. He holds a PhD in politics from Durham University and is the author of The Man who Killed Apartheid: The Life of Dimitri Tsafendas and of the Report to the Minister of Justice in the Matter of Dr Verwoerd’s Assassination.

Notes

[1] Demetrio Tsafendas statement to Major Rossouw. 19 September 1966. K150, Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Circumstances of the Death of the Late Dr the Honourable Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd, (hereafter cited as K150), Vol. 1, File: Verklaring van Demetrio Tsafendas. National Archives of South Africa, Pretoria (hereafter cited as NASA).

[2] Father Minas Constandinou in a personal interview, 6 February 2013; Bishop Ioannis Tsaftaridis in a personal interview, 19 July 2015.

[3] Rand Daily Mail, ‘Devoid of Political Meaning’, 7 September 1966.

[4] In the early 1960s, van den Bergh went to France and Algeria to receive special torture training from French forces (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Volume Two, (1998), p. 195.)

[5] John D’Oliveira, Vorster – The Man, (Johannesburg: Ernest Stanton, 1977), p. 180.

[6] Winter, ‘Tsafendas was Ineffective Red—Van den Bergh’, The Citizen, 26 October 1976.

[7] John D’Oliveira, Vorster – The Man, (Johannesburg: Ernest Stanton, 1977), p. 180.

[8] Demetrio Tsafendas statement to Major Rossouw. 11 September 1966. K150, NASA.

[9] Demetrio Tsafendas statement to Major Rossouw. 11 September 1966. K150, NASA.

[10] Advocate George Bizos in a personal interview, 18 November 2017.

[11] John Dugard in a personal interview, 7 February 2016.

[12] Denis Goldberg in a personal interview, 12 April 2016.

[13] Demetrio Tsafendas statement to Major Rossouw. 11 September 1966. K150, Vol. 1, File: Verklaring van Demetrio Tsafendas. NASA.

[14] Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Volume Three, (1998), p. 530.

[15] David Beresford in a personal interview, 11 April 2014; Father Minas Constandinou in a personal interview, 6 February 2013.

[16] Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Circumstances of the Death of the Late Dr the Honourable Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd (hereafter cited as Report of the COE into Dr Verwoerd’s Death), December 1966. R.P. 16/1967, Chapter XI, Paragraphs 4 and 5.

[17] Secret Telegram from S.A. Embassy, Lisbon, to Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Cape Town, 07 September 1966. K150, Vol. 7, File: 09/04 Suspect Persons Demetrio Tsafendas. NASA; Antony Maw statement to the police, 7 September 1966. K150, Vol 4, Sub file: 1/8. NASA; Pretoria News, ‘Dimitrio A Red, They Alleged’, 7 September 1966: 1; The Herald (Melbourne), ‘The Killer: Five Passports and A Record of Subversion’, 8 September 1966: 1; The Rhodesia Herald, ‘Assassin Said To Have Been Deported From P.E.A. for Communist Connections’, 8 September 1966: 1.

[18] Confidential Report of the Police Body of the Province of Mozambique regarding Demetrio Tsafendas. No: 726/694/PI, 3 May 1955. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. Arquivo National da Torre do Tombo, Lisbon (hereafter cited as ANTT); Report of the COE into Dr Verwoerd’s Death, Chapter II A, Paragraph 16.

[19] PIDE Confidential Report regarding Demetrio Tsafendas: no: 2707/64/SR, 25 November 1964. SR. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT; Vertaling. Information: Demitrio Tsafendas or Demetrio Tsafandakis. 7 September 1966. K150. Vol: 6, File: 3. NASA; PIDE report: Information: Demitrio Tsafendas or Demetrio Tsafandakis. 7 September 1966. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[20] The Cape Argus, ‘180-Day Prison for Tsafendas?’, 7 September 1966: 1.

[21] Report of the COE into Dr Verwoerd’s Death, Chapter II A, Paragraph 26.

[22] Edward Charles Furness statement to the police, 12 October 1966. K150, Vol. 12, File: Verklarings Demitrio Tsafendas, NASA.

[23] Edward Furness statement to the police 12 October 1966. K150, Vol. 12, File: Verklarings Demitrio Tsafendas. NASA.

[24] Kenneth Heugh Ross statement to the police, 7 September 1966. K150, Vol. 12, File: Verklarings Demitrio Tsafendas, NASA.

[25] Cleanthes Alachiotis in a personal interview, 29 September 2010; Nikolaos Billis in a personal interview, 12 June 2011; Nikolas Kambouris in a personal interview, 17 January 2014; Georgios Kantas in a personal interview, 11 January 2012; Grigoris Pouftis in a personal interview, 28 November 2009; Michalis Vasilakis in a personal interview, 17 March 2016.

[26] Johannes Jacobus Botha statement to the police, 15 September 1966. K150, Vol. 12, File: Verklarings Demitrio Tsafendas, NASA.

[27] Col. van Wyk’s report regarding the activities of Dimitrio Tsafendas in Mozambique and Rhodesia. 20 September 1966. K150, Vol 3, Sub file: 1/5. NASA.

[28] Report of the COE into Dr Verwoerd’s Death, Chapter II B, Paragraph 32.

[29] Top Secret letter of the head Inspector of PIDE in Lisbon to the Subdirector of PIDE in Mozambique regarding Demitrio Tsafendas, 8 September 1966. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[30] Secret Criminal Record nº 10.415 of Demitrios Tsafantakis. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[31] Vertaling. Information: Demitrio Tsafendas or Demetrio Tsafandakis. 7 September 1966. K150. Vol: 6, File: 3. NASA; PIDE report: Information: Demitrio Tsafendas or Demetrio Tsafandakis. 7 September 1966. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[32] Advocate George Bizos in a personal interview, 18 November 2017.

[33] Professor John Dugard in a personal interview, 8 September 2016.

[34] Demetrio Tsafendas statement to Major Rossouw. 11 September 1966. K150, Vol 1, File: Verklaring van Demetrio Tsafendas. NASA.

[35] Antony Maw statement to the police, 7 September 1966. K150, Vol. 4, Sub File: 1/8. NASA; Katerina Pnefma in a personal interview, 30 March 2015.

[36] Mary Eintracht in a personal interview, 9 October 2014; Katerina Pnefma in a personal interview, 30 March 2015; Michael Vlachopoulos in a personal interview, 14 April 2016.

[37] I Galleanisti, Galleani’s followers in the USA, had committed a number of bombings and attempted assassinations during the previous two decades.

[38] Father Minas Constandinou in a personal interview, 6 February 2013; Nick Papadakis in a personal interview, 30 January 2015; Katerina Pnefma in a personal interview, 30 March 2015.

[39] Demetrio Tsafendas statement to Major Rossouw. 11 September 1966. K150, Vol. 1, File: Verklaring van Demetrio Tsafendas. NASA.

[40] Andreas Babiolakis in a personal interview, 19 March 2016; Helen Grispos in a personal interview, 22 January 2013; Ira Kyriakakis in a personal interview, 27 March 2015.

[41] Secret Criminal Record nº 10.415 of Demitrios Tsafantakis. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[42] Andreas Babiolakis in a personal interview, 19 March 2016; Ira Kyriakakis in a personal interview, 27 March 2015.

[43] Letter of the Director of PIDE to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4 November 1961. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[44] Report of the COE into Dr Verwoerd’s Death, Chapter II A, Paragraph 16.

[45] Report of the COE into Dr Verwoerd’s Death, Chapter II A, Paragraph 26.

[46] Report of the Commissioner for Immigration and Asiatic Affairs regarding Demetrios Tsafandakis, 14 October 1941. K150, Vol. 3, File: W.D. 10/10/4102. Subject: Enquiry regarding Demetrios Tsafandakis. NASA.

[47] Grafton State Hospital report regarding Demetrios Tsafandakis, n.d. Demitrio Tsafendas Mediese Leer A125. NASA.

[48] PIDE Confidential Report about Demitrio Tsafendas or Demetrio Tsafantakis, 13 November 1962. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[49] PIDE Confidential Report about Demitrio Tsafendas, 7 June 1955. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[50] The Cape Argus, ‘Brainwashed in Jail Held Man Told Argus.’ 7 September 1966: 3.

[51] PIDE Record of questions. 25 November 1964. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT; Antony Michaletos in a personal interview, 2 May 2016; John Michaletos in a personal interview, 16 April 2016.

[52] The Cape Argus, ‘Brainwashed in Jail Held Man Told Argus.’ 7 September 1966: 3; Father Nikola Banovic in a personal interview, 21 August 2014; Father Minas Constandinou in a personal interview, 6 February 2013; Bishop Ioannis Tsaftaridis in a personal interview, 19 July 2015.

[53] John Michaletos in a personal interview, 16 April 2016.

[54] Antony Michaletos in a personal interview, 2 May 2016; John Michaletos in a personal interview, 16 April 2016; Katerina Pnefma in a personal interview, 29 March 2015.

[55] Father Minas Constandinou in a personal interview, 6 February 2013; Bishop Ioannis Tsaftaridis in a personal interview, 19 July 2015.

[56] Father Minas Constandinou in a personal interview, 6 February 2013; Bishop Ioannis Tsaftaridis in a personal interview, 19 July 2015.

[57] Report of the COE into Dr Verwoerd’s Death, Chapter II C, Paragraph 1; Eleni Vlachopoulos in Live and Let Live; Antony Michaletos in a personal interview, 2 May 2016; John Michaletos in a personal interview, 16 April 2016; Katerina Pnefma in a personal interview, 30 March 2015; Demetrio Tsafendas statement to Major Rossouw. 11 September 1966. K150, Vol. 1, File: Verklaring van Demetrio Tsafendas. NASA.

[58] Nick Papadakis in a personal interview, 30 January 2015; Costas Poriazis in a personal interview, 5 April 2016.

[59] Father Minas Constandinou in a personal interview, 6 February 2013; Bishop Ioannis Tsaftaridis in a personal interview, 19 July 2015.

[60] Andreas Babiolakis in a personal interview, 19 March 2016; Father Minas Constandinou in a personal interview, 6 February 2013; Nick Papadakis in a personal interview, 30 January 2015.

[61] PIDE Confidential Report regarding Demetrio Tsafendas: no: 2707/64/SR, 25 November 1964. SR. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[62] PIDE Confidential Report regarding Demetrio Tsafendas: no: 2707/64/SR, 25 November 1964. SR. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[63] South African Police report regarding the activities of Dimitrio Tsafendas in Mozambique and Rhodesia. 20 September 1966. K150, Vol 3, File 1/5. FILE Suid Afrikaanse Polisie. NASA.

[64] Andreas Babiolakis in a personal interview, 19 March 2016; Father Minas Constandinou in a personal interview, 6 February 2013; Nick Papadakis in a personal interview, 30 January 2015.

[65] Alberto Henriques de Matos Rodrigues conclusion to the Subdirector, 23 January 1965. PIDE/DGS, SC, CI (2) 6818, NT 7461, PNA. ANTT.

[66] Costas Poriazis in a personal interview, 5 April 2016.

[67] John de St Jorre, ‘I Was Glad That Cancer Got Me Out of Vorster’s Jail’, The Observer, 1 December 1968: 7.

[68] Father Minas Constandinou in a personal interview, 6 February 2013; Father Ioannis Tsaftaridis in a personal interview, 6 April 2015.

[69] David Beresford in a personal interview, 11 April 2014; Alexander Moumbaris in a personal interview, 13 December 2015.

[70] Henk van Woerden, A Mouthful of Glass, (London: Granta Books, 2000), p. 152-156.

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1Comment
  • Jinny Porcina
    Posted at 16:48h, 08 June Reply

    An isolated figure taking radical action is easily portrayed as a “lone wolf” or a “crazy” person.
    I can see why van den Bergh, Vorster and the whole Apartheid Regime would want to keep hidden the embarrassing lapse of security that facilitated Verwoerd’s assassination and the potential of a mixed-race martyr to the anti-apartheid cause.
    However, Tsafendas’ treatment after 1994 was not much better and his reputation has not been re-rehabilitated.
    Were there people in the anti-apartheid movement who were embarrassed by their lack of support for his actions?

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