Cops charged with apartheid-era murder said nothing new - victim's sister

2016-02-26 15:17
Nokuthula Simelane's sister Nthembi Nkadimeng (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Nokuthula Simelane's sister Nthembi Nkadimeng (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

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Nokuthula Simelane's sister wants answers, truth

2016-02-26 12:08

Nokuthula Simelane's sister Nthembi Nkadimeng speaks about the murder of her sister and says she was "disappointed" with the testimony of men accused of Simelane's murder. Umkhonto we Sizwe member Simelane went missing in 1983 after security police arrested her. Her remains were never recoveredWATCH

Pretoria – The four former apartheid-era Soweto security branch members accused of kidnapping and murdering MK operative Nokuthula Simelane did not say anything new during their court appearance on Friday, her sister said.

They had merely repeated during their bail application what they told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

"I was hopeful that the bail application, which we didn’t oppose as a family, would have been an opportunity for them to say we may want to discuss it under oath as to what had happened," Thembi Nkadimeng told reporters outside the court.

"I just want to find closure."

The Simelane family and Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) members were at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Friday for the bail application of Msebenzi Radebe, Willem Coetzee, Anton Pretorius and Frederik Mong. They were each granted R5 000 bail.

Radebe was facing both murder and abduction charges as he never applied for amnesty from the TRC. The other three admitted to abducting Simelane and were granted amnesty, and would only face a murder charge.

In their affidavits they pleaded innocent and said they dropped Simelane off in Mpumalanga to return to Swaziland on her own after weeks of torture.

Simelane disappeared after security police arrested her in 1983. She was 23 at the time and apparently on an ANC mission to South Africa from Swaziland under the pretext of buying a graduation outfit. She was allegedly taken to Norwood, Johannesburg, and later moved to a farm in Vlakplaas, North West, where she was tortured.

Two years after her disappearance, Simelane's family sought the media’s help in finding 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 National Prosecuting Authority said it believed it had a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution.

In his affidavit, Coetzee said MK could have killed her.

"The security branch in Soweto received information that Simelane would infiltrate South Africa through Swaziland. Police kidnapped her before she could do any harm and intended to turn her into an informant," he said.

Simelane was then taken to a farm for questioning and detention.

"That lasted for three weeks before she was released. She was dropped off in Mpumalanga near the Swaziland border so that she could enter the country on her own," said Coetzee.

He said he did not know what had happened to her after that.

"The operation was duly authorised. It is common knowledge that she was never seen again. But where she went or if she died remains a mystery. MK could have also killed her," he said.

Nkadimeng said their version did not make sense. She said the length of time that they had tortured Simelane was enough to have killed her.

"My belief is that she was beaten beyond recognition. She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t talk. She was handcuffed for a period of six weeks, so it would have been impossible for her to be dropped off at the border and walk home. By the way, she never arrived," said Nkadimeng. 

Read more on:    nokuthula simelane  |  pretoria

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