NPA Robben Island

Robben Island as viewed from Table Mountain towards Saldanha Bay. Photo: Creative Commons / Stephantom

NPA to exhume remains of missing Robben Island prisoner who died in 1966

The family of political prisoner James Booi heard that he died in 1966 but they had no idea where he was buried. The NPA Missing Persons Task Team believes his remains are in a pauper’s grave in Sasolburg.

NPA Robben Island

Robben Island as viewed from Table Mountain towards Saldanha Bay. Photo: Creative Commons / Stephantom

The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Missing Persons Task Team will conduct a public exhumation in Zamdela, Sasolburg on Friday, 10 June. The remains are believed to belong to a former Robben Island prisoner.

NPA TO HELP FAMILY FIND PEACE

According to the NPA, no potential prosecutions will come from the matter. The family of Mr James Booi from Port Elizabeth will be in attendance on Friday.

Booi – a former member of the African National Congress (ANC) – was arrested in the early 1960s. He was one of the hundreds of people arrested after the banning of the ANC and Pan Africanist Congress (PAC).

Booi was sentenced to imprisonment on Robben Island. He was transferred to Groenpunt Prison in the Free State in January 1966. He died two months later on 15 March 1966.

The deceased’s family heard that he had passed away, however, they had no idea what happened to his body and have searched for him for decades.

The NPA Missing Persons Task Team investigated the matter and believes an unmarked pauper’s grave in Zamdela Cemetery in Sasolburg is where Booi was buried.

“The exhumation by the MTPP is being conducted in partnership with the Metsimaholo Local Municipality, the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture (DSRAC), and Robben Island Museum (RIM),” read the statement.

The public exhumation will take place at the cemetery at 10:00 on Friday.

EDIT: This article has been updated to rectify an error. The NPA previously indicated that Mr Booi died in 1996 instead of 1966.

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