Morgan is not the first

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai took refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare, but he is not the first political casualty to turn to European or US consulates for safety.

In July 1985 the Dutch Embassy in Pretoria sheltered Dutch citizen Klaas de Jonge, who was accused by the apartheid government of smuggling arms into South Africa .

He stayed at the embassy for two years and left for The Netherlands after a deal was struck .

On September 13 1988 Mohammed Valli Moosa and Murphy Morobe, senior officials of the United Democratic Front (UDF), and Vusi Khanyile, chairman of the National Education Crisis Committee, took shelter inside the US consulate in Johannesburg after escaping from detention without trial. They were in the consulate for two months.

In 1989 four men who had been detained without being charged went on a hunger strike at Johannesburg prison.

Job Sithole, Clive Radebe, Mpho Lekgoro and Ephraim Nkoe were transferred to hospital, but they later escaped and fled to the West Germany embassy in Pretoria.

Political activists Sandy Lebese, Donsie Khumalo, Grace Dube, Ignatius Jacobus, Peter Harris, Michael Seloane and Selebogo Mabena were received at the British embassy in Pretoria where they had sought refuge from detention.