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.
A 1978 Inquest ruled that Dr Haffejee had taken his own life and no one was to blame. His death was ruled as suicide by hanging. He was the 45th detainee to die in police detention.
The Haffejee family had for four decades pursued a relentless campaign for truth and justice for the death of Dr Haffejee. They also appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation commission (TRC) in 1996 when none of the Security Branch Officers applied for amnesty.
The parents of Dr Haffejee and their son Yusuf have passed on. Sarah Haffejee, sister of Dr Haffejee was notified that the Minister of Justice, Advocate TM Masutha on 18 September 2018 signed a memorandum for the re-opening of the inquest into the death of Dr Haffejee.
Almost ten months after the announcement, the legal representative of the Haffejee family, Mr Anwar Jessop, has been following up with the NDPP, Adv. Shamila Batohi to await details on the appointment of a Judge. Mr Jessop has now been notified that the NDPP has taken a decision to halt the appointment of a Judge. He adds, “no consultation with the Haffejee family or legal representations had taken place. The NDPP now cites in writing that the Haffejee court proceedings be halted as a death of another detainee be investigated in the interest of justice”. Two former Security Branch Officers involved in the Haffejee arrest are still living.
The Haffejee family is one of many other victims’ families who had written to President Ramaphosa on 23rd June 2019 to appoint a commission of inquiry into the political interference that has stopped the investigation and prosecution of virtually all the cases referred by the TRC to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). This supports the correspondence sent earlier by the TRC Commissioners sent to President Ramaphosa on 06th February 2019. To date, no response has been received from the Presidency.
Issued by Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee – Nephew of Ahmed Timol on behalf of the Haffejee family