Statement from CARA, the organisation representing family and friends of slain Cape anti-apartheid activists Coline Williams, Ashley Kriel, Robbie Waterwitch and Anton Fransch…
23 July 2019
The democratic nation for which Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch laid down their lives has seemingly abandoned them
On the 30th anniversary of the death of young Cape Flats anti-apartheid activists, Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch, those who loved and respected them are calling on the State to re-open their inquests and bring their killers to justice.
On the police version of events, the pair blew themselves up while on a mission to bomb the Athlone Magistrate’s Court, on 23 July 1989. But the State Pathologist’s report was unable to conclusively establish that they died in a bomb blast, and more inconsistencies emerged when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) delved into the matter. Ultimately, nearly 20 years ago the TRC recommended that the case be further investigated by the National Prosecutions Authority but there is no evidence of prosecutors ever following it up.
Speaking on behalf of CARA, an organisation representing family members, comrades and friends of four young Cape victims of apartheid security force action – Coline, Robbie, Anton Fransch and Ashley Kriel – Wesley Fester said the organisation had taken heart from the recent re-opening of the inquest into the 1971 death in detention of Johannesburg-based activist Ahmed Timol.
“it is our hope that the Timol matter marks the beginning of a process to relook at the hundreds of cases that the TRC recommended for further investigation. In all of these cases, apartheid killers either chose to evade the TRC amnesty process, did not qualify for amnesty or were denied amnesty. The State’s failure until now to further investigate these cases is not just disrespectful to the contributions of our loved ones but also re-victimises families who have already suffered grievously. It is a grave injustice that fundamentally undermines the integrity of the TRC process.”
* Ashley Kriel was killed by police in a safe house in Athlone, in 1987. Former wet-bag torturer security policeman Jeff Benzien was granted amnesty for the killing, but subsequent forensic evidence indicated Benzien’s version of what transpired may have been false. Anton Fransch died after a lengthy gun battle with security forces in Athlone, in November 1989. Three months later, the last apartheid president unbanned the ANC and other organisations, and announced that political prisoners would be released and exiles welcomed home.
CARA will host a commemoration service in honour of Coline and Robbie.
Venue: St Mary of the Angles Catholic Church Lawrence road Athlone.
Date: Tuesday 23 July
For more information please contact Wesley on 083 287 5540. Distributed for CARA by Oryx Media.