NEWS

After Timol: NPA Sets Its Sights On Simelane, Aggett Deaths

But former security branch members are pushing back, saying the "other side" must be prosecuted too.

13/10/2017 06:35 SAST | Updated 13/10/2017 08:43 SAST
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Now that Ahmed Timol's case has been finalised, more prosecutions are likely on the way. But the old security branch police -- implicated in over 70 apartheid deaths in detention -- are strongly resisting the process, the Mail & Guardian reported on Friday.

In an historic judgment on Thursday, Judge Billy Mothle ruled that the apartheid activist did not commit suicide, as the apartheid police claimed, but that security branch police pushed him out of the 10th floor of the John Vorster Square police station in Pretoria.

Now the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has its sights set on the death in custody of unionist Neil Aggett, Mail & Guardian reported. The NPA has to make a decision on whether to pursue the case.

Another case which could be prosecuted is that of Nokuthula Simelane, who also died in police custody, and whose parents have also sought justice for her death for years. Her sister, Thembi Nkadimeng, told Mail & Guardian that she would prefer not to go the prosecution route, but that she sees no other choice.

READ: Judgment Day: Historic Timol Verdict Could Open The Accountability Floodgates For Apartheid Crimes

According to City Press, the NPA promised to prosecute four former security branch officers who were allegedly responsible for Simelane's death.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) reportedly recommended that 300 people be prosecuted for apartheid-era crimes, but only a "handful" has been brought to court. Affidavits by former head of the NPA unit tasked with handling apartheid-era crimes, advocate Anton Ackerman, and former prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli, given to court in the Simelane case, reportedly allege that the NPA was under political pressure not to go after apartheid-era suspects.

According to Mail & Guardian, former security branch officers have organised themselves under the banner of the Foundation for Equality before the Law, and are fighting back. The officers say that the actions of the security police were justified, because they were involved in a "war" and there were two sides two it. They reportedly say the "other side" must be prosecuted, too.

"I represent people who were very, very unhappy because their loved ones were murdered by ANC terrorists," one of the former police officers reportedly said.