On the night of the 19th of November in the South African city of Durban, agents of the Pretoria regime brutally assassinated Griffiths Mxenge.

Using knives, the murderers were not content just to take away the life of this outstanding patriot. In unbridled savagery, they extensively mutilated his face and cut off his ears.

A member of the African National Congress since the mid-1950s when he was a student at the University College of Fort Hare and, later, the University of Natal, Griffiths served three years on Robben Island prison after being convicted by the apartheid courts on a charge of membership of the ANC after it was banned in 1960.

On completion of his sentence, Griffiths was placed under banning orders and, until he was assassinated a week ago, had to contend with continued persecution at the hands of the political police.

It is a measure of his courage and the depth of his conviction that this persecution did not deter Griffiths from his chosen path but rather enhanced his commitment to bring to an end the criminal system of apartheid.

As a lawyer, Griffiths played his full part in defending many patriots brought before the racist courts for their opposition to the apartheid system. In addition to this invaluable contribution to the people`s cause, Griffiths also participated in the open political struggles through which the people are asserting their determination to free themselves.

Accordingly, he emerged as a leading activist in the Free Mandela Campaign, the mass campaign in support of the demands contained in the Freedom Charter, the mobilisation against the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the proclamation of the racist Republic of South Africa, the struggle to boycott the enemy-imposed South African Indian Council and so on.

Having realised that it could not intimidate him and that the example of militant struggle and self-sacrifice that he has set, was inspiring our people to intensify the struggle for liberation, the enemy decided to liquidate Griffiths Mxenge and mutilate his body in the hope that this heartless and criminal act would serve to dissuade the people from struggle.

The massacre of our people in Matola in January, the murder of Joe Gqabi in Salisbury in July and now the assassination of Griffiths Mxenge are a sign of the desperation of the enemy who increasingly finds himself unable to stop the forward march of the people, the ANC and the popular army, Umkhonto we Sizwe.

These acts of brutality can only serve to strengthen our determination to free ourselves. Through his martyrdom Griffiths Mxenge has set us the task to destroy the apartheid regime sooner rather than later.

The African National Congress in its entirety conveys its condolences to the wife and family of our late comrade and pledges its oneness with them at this hour of our grief.

As we lower our banners in memory of a great son of our people, an outstanding revolutionary, we renew our vows that we shall give no quarter in the noble struggle to rid our country of the murderers and tyrants that illegally rule our country and people.

Farewell dear brother and comrade. Your sacrifice is not in vain.