Onkgopotse Ramothibi Abram Tiro  Source:
Onkgopotse Ramothibi Abram Tiro

1 February 2014 marks the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Onkgopotse Ramothibi Abram Tiro way back in 1974, while he was exiled in Botswana. This writer has previously written about the life and times of Tiro in Mayihlome News and other publications. This time around I will focus on trying to bring to book, so to speak, those who were responsible for Tiro’s death and also make readers understand why the killers of Tiro got away with murder in the so called ‘new’ South Africa. I will let the facts speak for themselves.

In my previous articles I mentioned that the author of the book Inside Boss (1981), Gordon Winter, who is a former Bureau of State Security (BOSS) wrote that Tiro was killed by The Z-Squad. The following extract from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report, Volume 2, Chapter 2, at page 99, corroborates what Winter revealed in his book.

At paragraph 211 the report states that: “The Commission has no corroborated evidence of any external assassinations during the 1960 to 1973 period for which South African security operatives can be said to have been responsible.”

The report also states the following at paragraph 212: “The first known cross-border assassinations in the 1974–79 period occurred in February 1974, when, within two weeks of each other, MK founder member John Dube (aka ‘Boy’ Mvemve) and former South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) founder member Abraham Onkgopotse Tiro were killed by letter bombs in Zambia and Botswana respectively.”

The report further states at paragraph 213 that: “The Commission received no amnesty applications for these two killings. Former BOSS agent, Mr Gordon Winter, alleges that the killings were the work of BOSS’s recently formed covert unit, the Z-squad. At a Commission briefing, a former BOSS and later senior NIS and NIA member confirmed the existence of the Z-squad and named amongst its small band of original members Mr Phil Freeman, an explosives expert, and Mr Dries Verwey.”

Paragraph 214 of the report states the following regarding the operations of the Z-Squad in relation to Tiro’s assassination: “Another former BOSS agent, Mr Martin Dolinchek, also confirmed Z’s existence. In an interview published in the New Nation (9 August 1991), he named Kuhn and Verwey as “among those responsible for his [Tiro’s] death”. In an interview with the Commission, Dolinchek stated that Tiro was killed by the insertion of an explosive device into a package addressed to him from the Geneva-based International University Exchange Fund (IUEF). At that time, all mail destined for Southern Africa (including the BLS states, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and the Seychelles) passed through the airmail sorting office in Germiston near the then Jan Smuts airport. The actual running of that office was contracted out by the Post Office and, according to Dolinchek, South African Airways (then a state corporation) deliberately bid low to gain the contract so that the security police could have easy access to the millions of pieces of mail, including diplomatic traffic that flowed through it annually.”

Lastly, paragraph 215 states that: “According to Dolinchek, in the 1970s and 1980s some 400 police, mostly retired officers, worked in the facility, amongst them Security Branch officers. Dolinchek claims that Tiro’s package from the IUEF was “doctored” at this facility. That particular item of mail would have been a strategic choice as the IUEF, an international anti-apartheid non-governmental organisation (NGO), worked closely with SASO and was channelling funds to the organisation. Tiro was in regular contact with the IUEF and a package would not have aroused suspicion.”

I have previously stated that another South African spy, Craig Williamson, who had infiltrated the ANC, worked for the IUEF. In one of my articles on Tiro in Mayihlome News, a relative of Tiro’s, Ratanang Tiro posted a comment to the effect that the late Tiro’s mom passed away not having known who the killers of his son were because they never came forward. Unfortunately it would seem the ruling ANC provided them with a cover because of the secret deals clinched between the ANC and the former Apartheid government officials.

In fact, a US researcher, John Judge revealed in an interview titled Assassination as a Tool of Fascism that “Many of those scientists, many of the munitions and aerospace experts, many of the spies, (about 300 of them, in fact, under General Reinhard Gehlen, who had headed up Hitler’s intelligence network for the east and the Soviet Union) were brought, from 1943 up until even more recently in the present day, into the United States and into other countries around the world, South Africa included. There’s quite a bit of collaboration between the South African government and World War II Fascists and Nazis. But the Fascism was an indigenous problem in many, many countries. It didn’t just exist in Nazi Germany. There were groups of Fascists that the Nazis were able to use in many countries as collaborationist governments.”

I encourage readers to look for John Judge’s interview on the internet and read it in its entirety. They should also search and read John Judge’s Good Americans article to learn more about the Gehlen Network and its nefarious ways.

One would have expected that when the so-called new South African government came to power twenty (20) years ago, it would search for the records of these fascist Nazis and prosecute those that they could find for the atrocities they have committed, including political assassinations.

Colonel Huyghe, a Belgian rogue who shot Patrice Lumumba on the temples has been living in South Africa for the past fifty (50) years. Interestingly, the ANC government is not bothered by this. Perhaps many people are asking themselves why the ANC government is protecting these white supremacists. I have already alluded to the secret deals the ANC and Apartheid government officials signed and agreed that the ANC would not expose Apartheid war criminals and while the former Apartheid government officials would not expose who, among the ANC leaders, were spies, key amongst them Nelson Mandela, who was named a British M16 spy in the book MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations, authored by the acclaimed intelligence expert Stephen Dorril and another book, The Big Breach by Richard Tomlinson.

The Black Consciousness organizations and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of Azania must demand justice for the Tiro family.

By Sam Ditshego
The writer is a Fellow at the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI).


  1. Yhe Sam, if you have proof of the Nazi’s that lived and still live in this country, why don’t YOU take your evidence to the Wiesenthal Foundation for prosecution? This is part of their core function, to track and prosecute any and all Nazi criminals!! This irrespective of whatever deal was struck with this Government or anybody for that matter!!

  2. Nakedi, I stated clearly in the opening paragraph of my article on Tiro that my objective is to try to help bring to book those who murdered Tiro and to explain why those who killed him got away with murder. And I did exactly that. I also quoted from two of John Judge’s expositions titled Assassination as a Tool of Fascism and Good Americans respectively. Nakedi, you should have given yourself time to read those expositions before you rushed to post a comment. You would have found out that the US recruited those Nazi war criminals and gave them sanctuary and that the UN had a list of those Nazi war criminals. The Simon Wiesenthal Institute/Foundation could have approached the UN and demanded that list. Those Nazi war criminals went to work for NASA, OSS the CIA’s predecessor and other US government departments. In fact, they started the OSS. Mind you, John Judge exposed this information in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s. I would also like to point out that the so-called Jews collaborated with the Nazis according to The New World Order & the Throne of the anti-Christ by Professor Robert O’ Driscoll, Des Griffin et al. If this is the case why should I bother about approaching the Simon Wiesenthal Institute/Foundation? Moreover, the Israeli government rolled out the red carpet in 1974 for John Vorster, a known Nazi sympathiser who was interned in 1942 because of his pro-Nazi stance. The Israeli government also collaborated with the Apartheid government which oppressed the African people in South Africa/Azania. They provided the Apartheid government with military equipment and has cooperated with the Apartheid government in nuclear technology since the 1960’s and also helped South Africa develop a nuclear bomb with the collaboration of the US, France, Britain and other western governments. It should be remembered that in the book The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews by the Nation of Islam during slavery in the US the Jews kept and sold African slaves. Nakedi, this is my major concern and I think Africans deserve reparations and that is also why my major concern is for the family of Onkgopotse Tiro to get justice.

  3. Azapo, I am throwing down the gauntlet. You vowed that you won’t rest until those responsible for the death of Onkgopotse Tiro were brought to book. There is sufficient evidence to open a case of murder at the Gaborone Central Police Station because there is no statute of limitation with regard to murder. The leadership of Azapo can then request authorities in Botswana to institute extradition proceedings against Craig Williamson and his accomplices. This could have been done when Tiro’s mom was still alive. The Botswana government is not party to the sell out deals the ANC clinched with the Apartheid government. The revelations in this case will make it clear that Mandela is not the hero people think he is. The Feedom of Information Act should be used to access information that’s needed to assist Botswana authorities. I was going to suggest the setting up of a fund to pay for lawyers to assist with preparing a water tight case but I am weary because where there is money things get out of hand. Azapo should avoid lawyers who have sold their souls to the devil. Perhaps some laeyers could assist without charging a fee the way Robert Sobukwe did in Kimberly before his death. We should all be involved to see to it that Tiro’s family gets justice.

  4. True leaders are not bought or sold! It is clear that all the sufferings and the deprivations that are experienced by the Africans, are all deliberate!What chances have we got in mobilising the nation towards the real truth? Who is there and brave that can add value money wise to make sure that these scumbacks are followed up to the end? If Azapo is not prepared to go forward with this case surely the BLACK PEOPLES CONVENTION can be revived with the willing people and thye case be followed without any noise until the noise is heard in court! But a systematic modus operandi of high precision must be followed that will overwhelm the so called comrades who have sold the black souls.

  5. In his state of the nation address in Parliament yesterday, the President of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma mentioned the 40th annuversary of the assassination of Abram Onkgopotse Tiro. Mr. Zuma also said that Tiro’s brother was invited as a guest and was present in the Parliamentary gallery. It was for the first time in this country’s 20-year history of ANC rule that Tiro was acknowledged in parliament. All President Zuma’s predecessors, including the much vaunted reconciler, Nelson Mandela, never acknowledged Tiro. In 1995 I wrote a review of Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom which was published in Botswana’s weekly newspaper Mmegi in which I criticised Mandela for, inter alia, failing to mention Tiro’s cruel murder yet he mentioned Ruth First’s murder who was killed years after Tiro (they were both killed by parcel bombs). In 1996 on a state visit to Botswana, Mr Mandela went to Tiro’s grave in Gaborone. But he never publicly acknowledged the assassination of Tiro by the Apartheid government. By the way, one of the accomplices in Tiro’s murder, Craig Williamson managed to assist in the assassination of Tiro because he had infiltrated the ANC. This is what drove me to mention in my previous articles on Tiro that the ANC was directly or indirectly implicated in the assassination of Tiro. That is why they can’t pursue his killers who have not sought amnesty at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission because former Apartheid spies such as Craig Williamson have dirt on some prominent ANC leaders who were themselves Apartheid spies and informers. This non disclosure on the part of Craig Williamson and his accomplices of their role in the murder of Tiro renders them liable for prosecution according to the provisions of the TRC. Since the ANC led government is reluctant or unwilling to arrest and prosecute the killers of Tiro, ball is now in the cot of Azapo and the genuine leaders of the PAC and not imposters and opportunists who parade as PAC leaders when in fact they are only interest is pecuniary.

  6. Comrade Sam thanks for an informative article on one of leading African organic intellectuals Onkgopotse Tiro. Your research adds critical knowlegde, updated social innovative resource and thought provoking knowledge on the life of this gallant fighter, organic intellectual and tireless leader of radical black power movement and Pan African ideals. We need to keep his legacy alive, revive his political philosophy, educate the public about his contribution in the liberation struggle. His struggle was a genuine struggle for the total emancipation of blacks from psychological oppression, social marginalization, economic injustice, cultural imperialism and economic injustice. I fully agree with Tiro that we measure education not as a tool for personal success but that education is the tool to serve the decolonization of Africa, restore the dignity of blacks, our stolen land and rich minerals to serve the black community in the war against the triples of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

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