Pitness Simelane was born in 1910. He was a leader of the African National Congress in Natal in the 1950s. As a teacher in the 1930s he helped establish high schools for Africans. He was later employed in a pharmacy. In 1952, while serving as assistant secretary of the Natal ANC, he led the first batch of Durban volunteers in the Defiance Campaign. He was elected to the national executive committee of the ANC in December 1952 and also rose steadily in the Natal provincial leadership, becoming provincial treasurer in 1953 and secretary in 1956. In December 1956 he was among those charged with treason and was a defendant until late 1958.