POQO

Maksim Shklyar

Description

Poqo was an armed wing of the PAC, profoundly known for its violent nature in a series of sabotage campaigns during the 1960s. These campaigns primarily included "soft-targets", making it the largest underground anti-white movement of its time because of the extreme measures it took. “It’s overall mission was to overthrow the South African government in order to replace it with a socialist African state”(sahistory). Poqo made no effort to avoid any loss of life.

Significance

Poqo made little progress in trying to destabilize South Africa’s government and ushering an uprising. This showed that violent means had little to no impact against the oppressive government in South Africa at the time. This government far superior militaristically and resourcefully. Although Poqo was unsuccessful, concerns about the nonviolent anti-apartheid movement being ineffective continued, keeping violent methods an option if need be.
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Poqo Member Primary Source(Truth and Reconciliation Commission)

The starting point of the armed struggle was to consider our mandate on the basis of the concrete situation between ourselves and the enemy we were facing. Our mandate was to organize and lead the armed struggle. The matter of what to do and how to define the political leadership's responsibility. APLA's responsibility was how to do it. The key to the matter was whether we were capable of putting our struggle on the correct political line and employing correct methods of struggle. The crux of the matter was to satisfy ourselves within the limits of our understanding, that we could set our struggle on a correct course of development. And that was to develop military operations to the level where they served political objectives and achieved the anticipated results.


The enemy of the liberation movement of South Africa and of its people was always the settler Colonial regime of South Africa. Reduced to its simplest form, the apartheid regime meant, white domination not leadership, but control and supremacy. This was the desire of the white man to continue to protect himself from the "swart gevaar" the "black danger". The pillars of apartheid, protecting white South Africa from the black danger were the military and the process of arming of the entire white South African society. This militarisation therefore, of necessity made every white citizen a member of the security establishment. Whilst uniformed men and women engaged in border and cross-border operations, non-uniformed men and women became the pillar of the so-called rear-arear protection.


It would therefore be a fallacy in the context of white South Africa to talk about innocent civilians. Military trained and armed civilians defy the definition of civilians. To us an attack on a trained and armed individual was a military operation. It is in this context therefore that the Azanian People's Liberation Army did not have the burden or problem of the so-called "soft or hard target". In all honesty, the terms "soft or hard" targets did not exist in our vocabulary. All that mattered was the political and pycholological benefit that the organisation would derive from such military operations.


It should be noted that the killing of genuine African civilians had intensified. Africans attending night vigils, commuting to work, in Boipatong etc. were brutally massacred whilst the white community lived in tranquility. The decision was aimed at carrying out legitimate reprisals and forcing the regime to end the killings of African civilians. This was done both in reprisal and self-defence. The only requirement was proportionality. It should therefore not surprise anyone that targets like the St James Church, King William'stown Golf Club, Heilderberg Tavern etc. were selected. The leadership of the APLA takes full responsibility for all these operations. The APLA forces who carried out these operations followed the directives from their commanders and these directives were from the highest echelons of the military leadership. We do not therefore, regret that such operations took place and there is therefore nothing to apologize for.

References

"The O’Malley Archives." Azanian People'S Liberation Army (APLA). N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"Poqo." Anonymous. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Poqo. N.d. Sahistory. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION." TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.