NPA to prosecute apartheid-era crime

2016-02-08 19:04


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Johannesburg - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) intends prosecuting four members of the apartheid-era Soweto security branch for the murder of Umkhonto we Sizwe operative Nokuthula Simelane.

She disappeared after she was arrested and tortured in 1983.

NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said on Monday that 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, Mfaku said.

Simelane was 23 when she was arrested. She was apparently on an ANC mission to South Africa from Swaziland, under the pretext that she was going to buy graduation attire.

She was allegedly taken to Norwood, in Johannesburg. `

She was later moved to a farm in Vlakplaas, North West, where she continued to be tortured.

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 fallen ill because of the assaults she endured.

Her remains had never been found. Despite this, the NPA believed it had a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution. 

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

They were expected to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on February 26.

Read more on:    umkhonto we sizwe  |  npa  |  johannesburg

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