ARCHBISHOP Joseph Fitzgerald of Johannesburg. President of the South African Catholic Bishops conference, has strongly condemned the arrest, by South African security forces, or Mr Alexander Mbatha, a development field worker.
The Archbishop said: "It seems that we have to expect such things in a country already in the preliminary stages of civil war."
Mr Mbatha was arrested early in the morning of Thursday. October 22, with his wife Kosi and a child, Dudu. Miss Thandi Mbatha, the younger sister of Mr Mbatha. gave this eye witness account of the arrest: They knocked all over, kicking the doors. knocking hard on the windows, and before we could open up they had kicked down the kitchen door.
"They rushed into the diningroom and the bedroom and one white policeman slapped me hard in the face accusing me of taking my time to open the door. They searched the house and woke up my brother and sister-in-law."
Mr Mbatha was first detained in January 1977 and kept in detention under Section Six of the Terrorism act for more than five months. The couple's other _children are believed to-be out of the country.
The Archbishop's statement continues: "From the time the fact of the detention became known, it took twenty four hours to get information from the police about Mr and Mrs Mbatha. All we now know is that they have been detained for interrogation under section 22 of the General Laws Amendment A. Apparently' endeavours are being made to have the child taken by relatives..
"Protests ran on deaf ears. We continue to make them and we continue to use what influence we can to case the situation of Mr and Mrs Mbatha."