Neil Aggett’s family hopes for answers
If a player can be found, a tape recording at the reopened inquest may reveal new information about the anti-apartheid activist’s death at the notorious John Vorster Square police station in 1982.
“INQUEST INTO THE DEATH OF THE LATE NEILHUDSONAGGETT” read the hastily printed, misspelt sign on the door of the stiflingly hot, Gremlins-in-the-air-conditioning courtroom of the Johannesburg high court on the morning of Monday 20 January.
The legal teams for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Aggett family and members of the former security police waited for Judge MA Makume to get proceedings under way. Aggett’s sister and only surviving direct family member, Jill Berger, sat next to his former friend and fellow activist Gavin Andersson. The family’s former junior attorney in the original 1982 inquest into Aggett’s death, David Dison, sat in the row in front of them, peering at his notes over spectacles nestled below his strikingly bushy eyebrows.
Neil Aggett inquest: How the 10th floor worked
Aggett inquest concluded, judge moves to Ernest Dipale case
The inquest into the death of anti-apartheid activist Neil Aggett has concluded, now the focus will shift to the inquest of another activist, Ernest Dipale.
Dipale also died under similar circumstances as Aggett. He allegedly committed suicide at John Vorster Square on August 08, 1982, about six months after Aggett’s death.
Judge Motsamai Makume will continue to preside over the Dipale inquest.
The security branch police claim that both Dipale and Aggett hanged themselves in their cells.
Testifying virtually on the final day of the Aggett inquest, Police officer Captain Ben Nel said his colleagues had called him a traitor for taking on the investigation. He says that he had been assigned the case in 2016.
Lawyers involved in the Aggett inquest managed to invite several witnesses who testified in 1982, to again give evidence at the now reopened inquest. This as the Aggett family seeks to challenge the findings of the 1982 inquest which cleared the security branch police of any wrongdoing.
Nel listed several former security branch police officers whom he interviewed, but Aggett family lawyer Howard Varney demanded answers on one particular officer, whose name was missing from the list.