The first white political prisoners in Pietermaritzburg were Dereck Marsh, Peter Brown and Hans Meidner. They were office bearers of the Liberal Party of South Africa (LPSA), and they were detained during the State of Emergency on 30 March 1960. By declaring a State of Emergency, the National Party government's intention was to round up "trouble-makers", "agitators", and leaders of various organisations, such as the African National Congress (ANC), the Pan African Congress (PAC), the Congress of Democrats and the Liberal Party. The LPSA had been active in opposing the Treason Trial and had addressed meetings in the company of the ANC and the Indian Congress. Dereck Marsh had even shared a platform with Nelson Mandela.
This was the aftermath of Sharpeville, where the police had fired on anti-pass demonstration, killing 56 people. On 28 March 1960, the ANC declared a National Day of Mourning for the victims of Sharpeville, and the following night the detentions started. ('Political detention remembered' by Margery Moberly in Concord: Newsletter of the Alan Paton Centre v 2 no 1, 2002)
After this experience, Marsh left the country for Australia, on an exit permit. Peter Brown stayed on, and was subsequently banned for a ten year period, from 1964 to 1974. Many members of the LPSA were to be banned or exiled in the years that followed, as can be seen in their collections housed at the APC: