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Mandela In Lobatse (Part 2)

We left off late in the afternoon of January 11, 1962 with Mandela’s driver Mohammed Cajee, then travelling under the alias Mohammed Ismael, having been hauled into the Lobatse police station for disturbing the peace for conduct arising from a drinking binge at the Lobatse Hotel.

While the police station commander, Bail, had no special reason to take particular interest in the identity of the detainee the same could not be said for Sergeant Pio, the visiting South African Police Special Branch (SAP-SB) officer who dropped by to listen in on the questioning.

Perhaps the sight of Pio shocked some sense into the otherwise inebriated Cajee, who at any rate denied any knowledge of Mandela’s presence, admitting only that he had given an unknown African a lift on the Zeerust road.

Such was the state of play when the Bechuanaland Protectorate (BP) Southern Divisional Special Branch Officer, Inspector Innes-Ker, returned from Kanye at around 1800 hours. Upon his arrival he immediately contacted Elsie Bartuane who informed him about Mandela’s morning appearance with Cajee, including the unwelcome complications arising from the presence of the SAP informer, Andrew Rybicki.

Inspector Innes-Ker next visited the Lobatse hotel where he spoke with an unidentified African contact, whose description he subsequently noted bore a passing similarity to Mandela. The two left the hotel, walking for a short distance together. Turning back to the hotel, Innes-Ker immediately recognised that he was being shadowed by Sergeant Pio, whom he then decided to “bump into”.

The Inspector subsequently reported that: “After a certain amount of fencing” Pio admitted that he was after Mandela further correctly identifying the presence of the van that Cajee had driven across the border.

Thereafter, until just before midnight Innes-Ker, assisted by Bail, kept Pio and his colleague De Klerk occupied, while other BP officers were deputised to further assess the situation. This included identification

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<a href="" title="escort bakırköy" target="_blank">escort bakırköy</a> of the arrival of a third South African Security agent, Van Willough of the Mahikeng Police Criminal Investigation Department. Once confronted about his presence, Van Willough withdrew for the evening to the Railway rest quarters, leaving the next morning.


For their part, Sergeants Pio and De Klerk explained that they had decided to return from Deerdeport to Mahikeng via the Protectorate accompanied by Pio’s brother-in-law. The fact that the trio had had a leisurely lunch in Gaborone before reaching Lobatse, along with the brother-in-law’s sudden departure following their arrival, convinced the BP authorities that they had only become aware of Mandela’s presence after being personally contacted by Rybicki.

Given the SAP entanglements Innes-Ker instructed that there be no attempt to contact Mandela until the following morning.

On the morning of January 12, 1962, the interrogation of Cajee, who had spent the

night in custody, resumed in the absence of SAP. At the station Cajee maintained his ignorance of Mandela, while pleading guilty to the drunkenness escort bayan bakırköy charge, for which he was fined ten Rands. The amount was paid by a certain Babu Abdullah after Cajee pleaded lack of funds.

Thereafter, Cajee was taken to Innes-Ker where, after further questioning he finally admitted his knowing assistance of Mandela at the behest of John Kgaona Nkadimang. At the same time his van was searched, and its paper contents, consisting of various “garage receipts,” copied.

Wishing “to remain a friend of the refugees”, and otherwise already confident of his ability to contact Mandela and Nkadimang, Innes-Ker chose not to press Cajee further, though keeping him under surveillance. In this context it was noted that despite his pledge to immediately return to South Africa, Cajee remained in Lobatse over the next several days.

Having apparently sent Corporal Kiba ahead of him to smooth the waters, Innes-Ker proceeded to Fish Keitseng’s home to make covert escort bakırköy contact with Mandela. Upon the Inspector’s arrival, Mandela for his part reportedly apologised for not having already alerted the Protectorate authorities of his presence, pleading distrust and the need for secrecy.

Given the events of the previous day, both during and after his absence in Kanye, Innes-Ker must have been thankful that Mandela had chosen to lay low following his initial rebuffs at Bartuane’s office and the hotel. The Inspector’s subsequent secret report to his Mahikeng superiors noted: “From my brief contacts it appears that Mandela is well above-average intelligence. He is certainly the most impressive ‘refugee’ I have yet met. During our conversations the following items of interest have been gathered: - “Mandela has no wish to seek political asylum. This is because he made a widely publicised statement that ‘he would remain working for the Africans underground and would at no time be driven out of his country’. Mandela wishes to keep his departure from the Republic (of South Africa) a secret in order not to destroy public confidence in him. A further reason is that he intends to return to the Republic in the near future.”

The report went on to state that Mandela claimed that he only intended to proceeding as far as Dar-es-Salaam to attend a conference, before returning to South Africa, probably via Bechuanaland. He further indicated a desire to visit Kgosi Kgari Sechele in Molepolole while waiting for his flight. (to be continued)

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