State to reopen inquest into death of anti-apartheid activist, Dr Hoosen Haffejee

2018-09-28 18:33


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The state is to reopen an inquest into the death of Pietermaritzburg anti-apartheid activist Dr Hoosen Haffejee, who was the 45th political detainee to die while in detention.

"They were informed this week that Minister of Justice Mr Michael Masutha earlier this month signed the order recommending that the inquest be reopened," family spokesperson Benny Gool wrote in a statement on Friday.

Haffejee died on the August 3, 1977 - three days after security police arrested him under the Terrorism Act at the Brighton police station in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. The police claimed that he used his trousers to hand himself.

In 1978, an inquest found that that Haffejee had committed suicide, despite multiple injuries to his back, knees, arms and head.

"I think the time has arrived for us, the blacks, to pray that God will open a door to protect our destiny from the cruel injustice of the South African Security Police.  I hope our prayers are answered before it's too late for us all. As a grieving mother, I cannot forget this terrible ordeal.  My heart will always cry for my son," Haffejee's mother, Fatima, wrote to the Natal Witness in 1978.

This is not the first inquest into the death of an anti-apartheid activist.

An inquest into the death of Ahmed Timol in 2017 revealed that the political detainee did not commit suicide and that he was killed in detention instead.

"The reopening of the Timol inquest last year has given all the families of apartheid-era victims a glimmer of hope that we too would get answers on how our loved ones were murdered by the security police. We are very grateful to Timol's nephew, Imtiaz Cajee, for the support he has given us," Haffejee's sister, Sara, said.

She said many other families continued to live without answers about the deaths of their loved ones in detention.

"While we are very pleased to hear that the National Prosecutions Authority is to reopen the inquest into our brother's death, the families of others, such as Nokuthula Simelane and Nicodemus Kgoathe, continue to live with their pain," Haffejee added.

The National Prosecuting Authority is yet to reveal details about the date of the inquest.

Read more on:    michael masutha

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