Press release:

The Apartheid-Era Victims Family Group (AVFG) has noted the application seeking relief on behalf of the Cradock Four families compelling prosecution of their loved ones. We unequivocally support this application as well as the Press Release issued by the Fort Calata Foundation and reaffirm our view that the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) and the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations (DPCI)  have no political will in investigating the more than 300 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Cases (TRC) assigned to it.

The Priority Crimes Litigation Unit (PCLU) was created by Presidential proclamation on 23 March 2003 and is located in the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions. One of its mandates is to manage and direct investigations and prosecutions emanating from the TRC process[1]. Its dismal record speaks for itself.

The murder of former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative Nokuthula Simelane has been with the NPA since 2014 and the trial is only scheduled for August this year. Lengthy delays  on the part of the NPA has resulted in Soweto death squad member Timothy Radebe dying in 2019. This was followed by the death of another accused, Fredrick Mong.

Murder accused in the re-opened 2017 Ahmed Timol Inquest, João Rodrigues, could not be found by the NPA and DPCI. It needed his daughter to reveal his location in order for him to be subpoenaed to testify at the inquest.

In September 2018, a statement from the family of detainee Dr Hoosen Haffejee who  died in detention in 1977, welcomed the States decision to reopen the inquest into his death.[2] Colonel James Taylor, who was involved in the arrest and interrogation of Dr Haffejee had died a few days prior to the decision to re-open the inquest[3].

The Minister of Justice announced on 3 May 2019 the decision to re-open the inquest into the 1982 death of detainee Dr Neil Aggett[4]. It then emerged a few days earlier, Aggett’s senior interrogator Stephan Whitehead had passed on.

It is no co-incidence that the death of alleged apartheid-era perpetrators follows the announcement to re-open inquests. We see a clear strategy on the part of the NPA and DPCI to stall and delay the re-opening of these matters for as long as possible. This will allow for perpetrators and critical witnesses to pass on making it challenging for successfully re-opening these cases and prosecuting perpetrators who failed to apply for amnesty at the TRC. This is a serious indictment on the part of the NPA who are to serve without fear, favor and prejudice. We urge the NPA and DPCI to immediately act in the Cradock Four matter without waiting for intervention from the courts. They must also provide a plan of action demonstrating how they intend addressing all TRC cases and consult with relevant family members accordingly.

The NPA and the DPCI recently issued a joint statement of a renewed plan to expand their capacity in order to deal with outstanding cases of Apartheid atrocities. This was issued after the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein were scathing on the conduct of the NPA in the Rodrigues matterA statement issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation claimed that “amnesty was, from the outset, a sine qua non for the negotiations between the ANC and the National Party (NP) government.” De Klerk further refers to talks of ‘an informal agreement between ANC leaders and former operatives of the pre-1994 government’ for the National Prosecuting Authority to ‘suspend its prosecution of apartheid-era crimes’.

We demand to know the names of the ANC leaders and former operatives that de Klerk is referring to and for the ruling ANC Party to respond to this claim. The ANC needs to re-iterate its commitment to apartheid-era families that TRC cases will be timeously investigated and perpetrators prosecuted by the ANC led government.

For media queries, contact Lukhanyo Calata at  082 394 6481 or Cassiem Khan at 076 640 7928


[1] https://www.npa.gov.za/sites/default/files/pclu/About%20PCLU%20signedoff.pdf

[2] https://www.ahmedtimol.co.za/2018/09/28/state-to-re-open-inquest-41-years-after-dr-hoosen-haffejees-death-in-detention/

[3] https://mg.co.za/article/2019-08-20-haffejee-inquest-security-cop-dies-after-decision-to-reopen-the-case/

[4] https://mg.co.za/article/2019-05-07-00-npa-to-re-examine-neil-aggetts-death/

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