The People’s Congress (COPE) has lamented the stretch that families have to go through to access justice for crimes committed during apartheid. Party spokesman Dennis Bloem said the crimes of apartheid must be dealt with in order to mend the country’s wounds.
This after Judge Motsamai Makume found that anti-apartheid activist Dr Neil Aggett did not die by suicide but was killed by police while in police custody. In 1982, 28-year-old Aggett was found hanged in his cell at the infamous John Vorster Square Police Station, now Johannesburg Central Police Station, after being held there for 70 days on suspicion of treason.
A 1982 inquest, chaired by magistrate Pieter Kotze, cleared the apartheid government and declared his death a suicide.
In his judgment, Makume found Kotze to be biased and not interested in knowing what happened to Aggett, but rather why he killed himself.
He added that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should bring criminal charges against those involved in Aggett’s death. Bloem says there must be justice.
“Why do individual families have to spend millions of rand to find out the truth and the legal defense of the abuser is funded by the government. We believe that if the country is to close a painful chapter in the past of Apartheid, then we must see justice Let the children know who killed their parents Let the parents know who killed their children Let all these criminals pay for their sins.
The Johannesburg High Court delivers its judgment in the Aggett inquiry:
Ex-apartheid cop denies involvement in torture, death of Neil Aggett
Apartheid Security Police said Aggett committed suicide, however, his family believed they were responsible for his death.
Naude admitted to interviewing Aggett from mid-December 1981 and said he last saw him on January 9, 1982, after which he then returned to his home town of East London. He denied having been involved in the torture of any detainees, including Agget.
He said: “No one trained me for this, no one told me this, nothing, I was not present when someone did this. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I was never an integral part of that. And as an investigator in a career spanning 40 years, personally, I’ve never been involved in a cover-up, never been asked to change a statement, or volunteered to change a statement, even at this hearing.
Naude maintained throughout his testimony that he had no knowledge of the torture and assault of Aggett or any other political prisoner in John Vorster Square.
Author and nephew of Ahmed Timol, Imtiaz Cajee shares more: