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National Archives and Records Service of South Africa Africa
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Prosecution Records

  • ZA NARSSA MR-RT-005
  • Collection
  • 1963 - 1964
  • Part of Rivonia Trial

These records were donated by the Oppenheimer Family to the National Archives in 2008 from the Brenthurst Library in Johannesburg. The Oppenheimers acquired them from Dr Percy Yutar, the prosecutor in the trial.

They are not a complete record. Some witness testimony, and cross-examination are missing. See linked list for more details.

Included in the records are the indictment, opening address, statements, evidence by witnesses for the State and for the accused, evaluation of evidence of the trial, judgment and sentence, photographs, the diary Mandela kept when he left South Africa secretly at the beginning of 1962 to undergo military training and to garner support for the banned ANC. Also included is Mandela's statement from the dock. A significant component of the material is the working papers of the prosecution that were used to build up the State's case against the Rivonia Trialists. There are also photocopies and microfilm copies.

There are also prosecution records from the Yutars in the personal collection of Douw Steyn and at Liliesleaf Farm.

Yutar, Percy

Criminal Court Case No. 253/1963 (The State versus N Mandela and Others)

  • ZA NARSSA MR-RT-093
  • Collection
  • 1963 - 1964
  • Part of Rivonia Trial

The records of the Supreme Court of South Africa (Transvaal Provincial Division) on the proceedings of the Rivonia Trial. Transferred to National Archives in 1994. Incomplete on transfer. Existent records are:

File cover with handwritten notes, including the sentences that were passed. The clerk of the court recorded the sentences that were passed together with the names of the accused on the cover of a file in blue ink.

Extracts of evidence by state witnesses (3 vols). These volumes include records by the attorney for the accused, Mr. B Fischer, applying for the postponement of the proceedings and the reply by Dr Yutar, the State’s main prosecutor. Further records include the verbatim transcriptions of evidence given by state witnesses.

Evidence for defence (1 vol.). Include verbatim transcriptions of evidence given by Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Lionel Bernstein and Govan Mbeki.

Rivonia Exhibits (1 vol.). The exhibits include documents seized by the police at Liliesleaf and deals with topics such as the Transkei; Operation Mayibuye; the new draft programme of the South African Communist Party (SACP); names and addresses of ANC and SACP members; a copy of Sibanye, a newsletter; documents discussing problems in the democratic movement, the Nationalists invasion scare, the general predictions for 1963; handwritten notes on freedom movements elsewhere in Africa; an article by E Rosenthal on General De Wet; a syllabus on the fundamental principles of Marxism; a pamphlet named 'A Call to the Youth'; a manual on rock blasting; the rules of the SACP; sketch of Tunisia; handwritten notes on the Kenya Youth Wing Organisations; SACP newsletter on the China/India border dispute; statement by the SACP on conditions in South Africa; document on the differences in the communist movement; invoices from Ace Auto electricians; press statement by Nelson Mandela on 26 June 1961.

State’s Concluding Address (4 vols). These volumes are divided into three parts. The first part deals with a factual analysis of documentary exhibits handed in, and of oral testimony given, by state witnesses. Part two deals with a factual analysis of the documentary exhibits handed in, and of the oral testimony given, by state witnesses (continued). The third part deals with the Rivonia exhibits.

Two volumes consisting of Judge’s remarks in passing sentence; the Attorney General for the Transvaal’s statement explaining which of the accused was found guilty of what offences; a part of the judgement and verbatim transcriptions of the court proceedings

Judgement (1 vol.).

Dictabelts covering the whole case (8 vols).

These records, together with the Prosecution Records received from Brenthurst Library, will at some stage become one group.

Department of Justice

Department of Correctional Services Political Prisoner Files

  • ZA NARSSA MR-RT-094
  • Collection
  • 1964 - 1990
  • Part of Rivonia Trial

This collection consists of files, kept by prison authorities, on all political prisoners held in prisons in South Africa. The list for these files is in three parts but only the first two relate to Rivonia Trialists.
List A reflects files of nine people, including Kathrada, Mandela, Mbeki, Mhlaba, Mlangeni of the Rivonia Trialists. These files contain correspondence.

List B has many more political prisoners' files. These files contain general correspondence re prisoners, transfers etc. The only Rivonia Trialist in List B is Denis Goldberg.

List C deals with specific issues such as medical attention and education of prisoners but does not include any of the Rivonia Trialists.

Department of Correctional Services