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No, South African freedom fighter Solomon Mahlangu was not killed by ‘the man who started the DA’

On 6 May 2019, two days before South Africa’s election, a Facebook user posted a claim that freedom fighter Solomon Mahlangu was put to death by “the man who started” the Democratic Alliance (DA), the country’s official opposition.  

The post reads:

Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu was hanged and killed on 6th April 1979, at the age of 22 years. He was killed by the man who started the political party known as DA.

He got the white woman known as Helen Zile in charge to lead the political party.

And he saw that his party will never get votes because its leader is a white.

And he decided to get the black colonized man know as Musi Mayimane in charge to brainwash the South African people so that his party can lead the country than he can be free to do anything in our country.

This Wednesday black people will betray their leaders of Umkhonto wesizwe who were killed at the Pretoria Central Prison.

They will betray Solomon by not fighting for their land.

They'll betray our died leaders by voting DA so that we can be ruled by whites again.


Who was Solomon Mahlangu?

Solomon Mahlangu was born in 1956 during the height of apartheid, a system of institutionalised economic and political discrimination against black people that existed until the early 1990s.

He joined the then banned African National Congress (ANC) in 1976 and left the country to be trained as a soldier for Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC.

In 1977, shortly after his return to South Africa, Mahlangu and two others were accosted by the police in Johannesburg. When a gun battle ensued, two civilians were killed. Mahlangu and his companions were arrested and tried for charges related to the attack.

‘Common purpose’ and death sentence

During the trial, it was accepted that one of the other men was responsible for the actual killings. But the prosecution argued that, under the legal principle of common purpose, Mahlangu shared intent to kill. This, they said, made him guilty of murder whether or not he pulled the trigger.

In March 1978 Mahlangu was sentenced to death by hanging. And despite international efforts to intervene on his behalf, he was executed in April 1979. He was 22 years old.

It was previously wrongly reported that Ramon Leon judged the case and therefore played a role in the hanging of Mahlangu. Judge Leon was the father of Tony Leon, a South African politician who led the DA from 1999 to 2007.

But according to two senior judges, Leon never sat on the case. Instead, it was Judge CDJ Theron who sentenced Mahlangu to “be hanged by his neck until he is dead”. - Africa Check (05/06/19)  


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