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Identity area

Reference code

ZA COM NMAP 2010/9-1-3-1b




  • December 1976 (Creation)

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1 page ; 7.8 x 9.3 cm

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Name of creator

(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

Name of creator

(08 August 1929 - 28 March 2017)

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Judge Thumba Pillay
Accession number NMPP and AP 2010/9

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Scope and content

This item consists of a letter written by Ahmed Kathrada to the legal firm of Seedat Pillay & Co. that was smuggled out of Robben Island Prison. Kathrada wished to appoint the firm to act on his behalf in legal proceedings against the Department of Prisons. Since the authorities refused to allow him contact with his attorneys, he had to use this "illegal" method to seek legal representation.

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Access by permission of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

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Copyright held by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

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  • English

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Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

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In the meanwhile the systematic inroads on the question of visits and letters have not only continued, but have reached alarming proportions. Under these circumstances, and with the formal channel of contact with my lawyers having been denied to me, I have been obliged to seek recourse to an alternative, and surreptitious method in order to reach you.

It is my desire to have urgent personal consultations with a member of your firm. Especially in view of the fact that the opposite party in this dispute is the Department of Prisons, it is essential that the consultation be fully privileged, without any untoward restrictions imposed by the authorities.

Should the Dept. of Prisons refuse you permission to see me, or place any unacceptable conditions, you have my instruction to apply to the Supreme Court for the necessary relief. In addition, I should like you to take all necessary steps in order to prevent the authorities from removing from my possession, documents of any nature, including copies of letters, etc. which may be useful for the prosecution of the case.

Finally , in the event of your receiving any communication from the Dept. of Prisons, purporting to be acting on my behalf, and which may have the effect of countermanding the above instructions, I should like you to please obtain confirmation of same from me, in my handwriting and under my signature. In the absence of the latter please proceed as herein instructed.

I shall discuss the question of fees and other relevant matters with you at the consultation.

Should your firm for any reason be unable to act for me, I shall appreciate it if you will please redirect these instructions to another firm.

Yours sincerely
AM Kathrada
Robben Island Prison
No. 468/64

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