Four due in court for apartheid-era crime

2016-02-26 07:15
Nokuthula Simelane, an anti-apartheid activist who disappeared in 1983. (City Press)

Nokuthula Simelane, an anti-apartheid activist who disappeared in 1983. (City Press)

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Johannesburg – Four members of the apartheid-era Soweto security branch are expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday in connection with the disappearance of uMkhonto weSizwe operative, Nokuthula Simelane.

The National Prosecuting Authority will possibly finally get answers on what happened to Simelane, who disappeared in 1983 after she was arrested by security police. 

She was allegedly taken to Norwood, in Johannesburg and later moved to a farm in Vlakplaas, North West, where she was tortured.

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams decided on January 30 to pursue the matter.

This was based on evidence gathered by the NPA’s priority crimes litigation unit following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings, said NPA spokesperson, Luvuyo Mfaku.

Simelane was 23 when she was arrested. She was apparently on an ANC mission to South Africa from Swaziland under the pretext of buying graduation attire.

Taken to Vlakplaas

Two years after her disappearance, Simelane's family sought the media’s help to find her.

Her picture was sent to various newspapers.

A policeman who had worked at the Vlakplaas police station identified her. The policeman said the last time he saw her, she had become ill as a result of the assaults she endured.

Simelane's remains have never been found. Despite this, the NPA said it believed it had a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution.

Three of the accused had received amnesty from the TRC after they admitted to abducting Simelane and would only face murder charges. The fourth faced both murder and abduction charges as he had never applied for amnesty.

Read more on:    npa  |  nokuthula simelane  |  johannesburg  |  soweto

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