Horward Varney, Neil Aggett’s family lawyer, has rubbished claims by a former security branch police officer, Eddie Chauke, that he never witnessed the anti-apartheid activist being assaulted or tortured.

Chauke had been based at then John Vorster Square Police Station in Johannesburg during Aggett’s detention at the facility.

He is testifying at the inquest into Aggett’s death which is being conducted virtually.

Aggett, a union organiser, was found hanging in his cell on 5 February 1982.

During cross-examination, Varney cited a statement made by Aggett in which he says that Chauke was present when he was tortured and assaulted by another security police officer, James van Schalkwyk.

“Then Dr Aggett goes on to say this Schalk would assault me, he hit me with his open hand through my face and I fell against the table with my back.  During my presence, I never witnessed any assault.”