Neil Aggett Trial comes at an opportune time for Kgoathe Family

Yet another death anniversary has come, this time the 51st – for the death of anti-apartheid activist Nicodemus Kgoathe.

Nicodemus Kgoathe died on 4 February 1969, after he was arrested and detained for almost three (3) months, from November 1968 in police custody at Silverton Police Station. He was arrested for alleged arson and sabotage under the Terrorism Act of 1967.

The inquest to Kgoathe’s death concluded that he died from broncho-pneumonia, contrary to what his eldest son, Ben Kgoathe and the district surgeon observed. Upon his visit at the police station his son observed: “Nicodemus lay flat on the concrete floor, he had bruises on both shoulders and at the back of the neck, bruising of the soft tissue around the left eye, small bruises at the back of the left thigh, “U” shaped bruises on his right eye, scabs on the right knee, bruises at the back of the left upper arm, moving with great difficulty”, which was consistent the inquest testimony of District Surgeon Dr PJE Joubert. The surgeon also observed: “an enlarged and tender liver and a white secretion from the penis”.

Ben, saw his father Nicodemus in mid-January 1969. Nicodemus told him he was interrogated at the infamous Compol Building in Pretoria.

The Kgoathe family testified at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in April 1996.

In May 2018 – the family’s hopes were yet again raised by investigating officers of the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (HAWKS) when statements were taken from the family in pursuit of re-opening the inquest. To date, no progress has been made, nor follow up with the family made. The family wrote to the National Director of Public Prosecution (NPA), Ms Shamila Batohi requesting for progress made on the case – to this end, nothing has been received from the NPA.

In the past two weeks, the Kgoathe Family has watched the re-opening of the Neil Aggett inquest with angst. The family is at pains as to whether the Minister of Justice & Correctional Services and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will act with same intent for the re-opening of similar cases of apartheid atrocities as the Aggett matter. We remain hopeful and pledge our support to the Aggett family and hope that in the near future, the Nicodemus Kgoathe matter will also be opened while key witnesses can give evidence.


Family spokesperson: Amon Kgoathe, 083 501 5220,