News

August 22, 2019

The application for leave to appeal against the full bench decision of the South Gauteng High Court in the matter of State vs Rodrigues will be heard on Wednesday, 18 September 2019 at 10:00 (Room to be confirmed).

On the 28th June 2019, the full bench dismissed the application for a permanent stay of prosecution brought by Joao Rodrigues’s legal teams on 28th and 29th March 2019.

Rodrigues was investigated as per the historic ruling made by Judge Billy Mothle on the 12th October 2017 in the re-opening of the Ahmed Timol Inquest. The 2017 inquest reversed the 1972 finding that Timol had committed suicide. It found that Timol was murdered in police detention on 27th October 1971. Timol was the 22nd person to have died in police detention. Many more were to follow.

Written heads of Arguments by the legal teams is to be submitted before 31st August 2019.

….Ends

Issued by Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee – Nephew of Ahmed Timol

August 21, 2019

Paddy Harper 20 Aug 2019 10:50

Colonel James Taylor’s death robs the Haffejee family of the opportunity to hear his version of what happened to Hoosen Haffejee, who had been detained in terms of the Terrorism Act. (Rogan Ward)

A former Security Branch operative implicated in the death of anti-apartheid activist Dr Hoosen Haffejee has died, days after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) restarted the process of reopening an inquest into Haffajee’s death in detention.

Colonel James Taylor, who was involved in the arrest and interrogation of Haffejee in the days before his death in the Brighton Beach police cells in August 1977, died on Monday.

Taylor’s death robs the Haffejee family of the opportunity to hear his version of what happened to Haffejee, who had been detained in terms of the Terrorism Act.

An inquest at the time found Haffejee had taken his own life and ruled that injuries to his body were not linked to his death. However, an investigation into his death and that of fellow detainee Dr Neil Aggett was opened by the NPA in 2015.

The NPA however, decided to halt the investigation last month and only agreed to request fresh inquests into the two deaths after threats of legal action from the families of the men.

Imtiaaz Cajee, nephew of murdered detainee Ahmed Timol, said the families were “livid” that the delays in bringing the matter to court had resulted in Taylor dying before giving evidence.

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August 15, 2019

The NPA continues to make excuses about why inquests into apartheid deaths have not moved forward. But the families of the dead are moving things forward

Ismail Haffejee and Sarah Lall with a portrai t of their youngest brother Hoosen Mia Haffejee who died in police custody in the Brighton Beach police cells in 1977, 22 March, 2018. Picture: Rogan Ward

By: Tymon Smith – 15 Aug 2019

New Frame

With the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announcing plans to reopen inquests into the deaths in detention of Neil Aggett and Hoosen Haffejee, it may seem as if it is honouring its recently renewed commitment to helping families of those who died during apartheid finally to get the justice they seek.

Recent revelations about these cases show that the NPA, now led by Shamila Batohi, is not overtly interfering in the prosecution of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) cases, as occurred during previous administrations. Nevertheless, it is still families and not the NPA who are forced to move matters forward. 

Last week it was reported that in both the Aggett and Haffejee cases it was only after threats of legal action against the NPA from the families’ representatives that Batohi said she had asked the judge presidents of Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal to appoint judges to hear the reopened inquests. 

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August 13, 2019
Ernestine Simelane, mother of slain anti-apartheid activist Nokuthula Simelane, poses with a portrait of her daughter at her house in Bethal, South Africa. (Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images)

By Christopher Clark August 7

The Washington Post

JOHANNESBURG — Nokuthula Simelane, a bright and ambitious 23-year-old anti-apartheid activist, was just two weeks away from graduating from college when she disappeared without a trace in September 1983.

Her parents took a three-hour bus trip from the farming town of Bethal in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province to the University of Swaziland to attend her graduation, desperately hoping that she would be there. She was nowhere to be found.

“I was distraught. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep,” Simelane’s mother, Ernestine, 79, recalled last week, sitting in the meticulously tidy brick bungalow where Simelane grew up as the eldest of four children.

The family later learned that Simelane had been abducted and subjected to weeks of brutal torture by members of apartheid’s notorious security police. Her family never saw her again.

“I’m still waiting to know the truth,” Ernestine Simelane said.

Almost exactly 36 years since Nokuthula Simelane’s disappearance, and a quarter-century since apartheid ended, four former police officers are due to stand trial Thursday for her kidnapping, torture and alleged murder, although the whereabouts of her body is still unknown.

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August 04, 2019
Pic Courtesy of Mohapi Archives
Pic Courtesy of Mohapi Family Archives

The 5th August 2019 marks the 43rd  anniversary of the death of Mapetla Mohapi (age 29), former member of the South African Students’ Organisation (SASO) and the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). A month after the start of the 1976 Soweto uprising, in a swoop of Black Consciousness activists, Mapetla was detained without charge on 16 July 1976.

Twenty days after his arrest, Mapetla died in police custody at the Kei Road Police Station in King Williams Town on 5 August 1976. In an inquest that was held in 1977, Magistrate A. J. Swart found that Mapetla Mohapi died from an application of force to the neck and that nobody was to be blamed. In effect, though not in form, the verdict was of suicide.

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August 03, 2019

The Family of Dr Hoosen Haffejee will commemorate his anniversary with the shattering news that the National Director of Pubic Prosecutions (NDPP) has halted the re-opening of his inquest.

Saturday, 3 August 2019 marks the 42nd anniversary of the death in police detention of Dr Hoosen Mia Haffejee, at the Brighton Beach Police Station in Durban on 3 August 1977.

Dr Haffejee, the 26 year old dentist was in good spirits when he left his flat in Overport to go to work at the King George V Hospital on the morning of 3rd August 1977. En route to the hospital, Dr Haffejee was hounded off the road by members of the Security Branch. He was arrested and detained under contravention of the Terrorism Act on suspicion of being a trained saboteur and plotting to overthrow the State. Within 20 hours of his arrest, Dr. Haffejee was dead. Police claimed that he had allegedly hung himself with a pair of trousers.

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August 01, 2019

01 August 2019

More than a year after ​been charged on 30th July 2017, Joao Antonio Rodrigues will make another court appearance (see timeline below) at the Palmridge High Court on Friday, 02 August 2019 relating to the criminal case against him in the 1971 murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol. The 1972 inquest ruling was overturned by Judge Billy Mothle on 12th October 2017 which found that Timol was murdered and did not commit suicide.

A court date for the criminal case is as yet to be set as Rodrigues’s legal team applies for leave to appeal after the full Bench of the South Gauteng High Court rejected his application for a permanent stay of prosecution on 3rd June 2019.

The National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shamila Batohi in her maiden appearance before parliament on 09th July 2019 told MPs that there were 37 active investigations of these TRC cases by the directorate for priority crime investigation, commonly known as the Hawks. She said that a task team of the national prosecutions authority was also reviewing the cases. Batohi was addressing the national assembly’s justice portfolio committee, to which the NPA accounts.

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July 30, 2019

On the 30th July 2018, one year ago, Joao Rodrigues was charged at the Johannesburg Central Police Station and appeared at the Johannesburg Magistrate Court for the murder of Ahmed Timol. The criminal case has not commenced to date. Rodrigues is back in court on Friday, 02nd August 2019.

Judge Billy Mothle who presided over the historic re-opened inquest in 2017, also recommended that security branch officers, Seth sons and Neville Els be investigated for perjury. The investigation into Els and Sons has not been completed to date.

Ends….

July 27, 2019

Saturday 27 July 2019 – DStv Channel 403

enca logo
Thirty years since the deaths of two young Cape Town anti-apartheid activists their families are still seeking justice. Courtesy #DStv403

CAPE TOWN – Thirty years since the deaths of two young Cape Town anti-apartheid activists, their families are still seeking justice.

The families want the National Prosecuting Authority to properly investigate the cases.

Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch are alleged to have accidentally detonated a bomb they were planning to plant at a magistrate’s court in 1989 but their families say the evidence doesn’t add up.

“The DCC has named two sources to the TRC who infiltrated their cell,” said Selina Williams, Coline Williams’ sister.

“We want those people to be investigated. We want those people to be questioned.

“There can be no justice without the truth.”

The NPA says it can’t respond to specific cases at this time, but it’s committed to giving attention to matters of the truth and reconciliation commission.SourceeNCA

July 24, 2019

News24 Correspondent

2019-07-23 18:01

Fallen comrades. (Screengrab)

The ANC called for the reopening of the inquests into the deaths of Cape Town Umkhonto we Sizwe operatives Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch on Tuesday, the 30th anniversary of their deaths.

“We call on our law-enforcement agencies to do everything in their power to bring perpetrators to justice. The successful prosecution of apartheid era atrocities will send a clear message that there will be no impunity for apartheid crimes,” party spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement.

“We believe that this process will give the families closure in the light of contradictory and inconsistent versions on how these MK fighters met their tragic deaths.”

On July 23, 1989, Williams and Waterwitch were killed when an explosive device detonated near the Athlone Magistrate’s Court.

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