Four former apartheid era police officers, who stand accused of the murder of anti-apartheid activist Nokuthula Simelane 33 years ago, are expected to appear in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday.
Willem Coetzee, Anton Pretorius, Frederick Mong and Msebenzi Radebe are accused of murdering Umkhonto we Sizwe courier Nokuthula Simelane who disappeared after she was abducted and tortured by the police’s security branch in 1983. Her remains have never been found.
On February 26, the four were granted bail of R5 000 each in the Pretoria Regional Court.
Radebe, Coetzee, Pretorius and Mong submitted detailed affidavits through their lawyers, Shaun Hamilton and Antonie Klopper, stating they had no intentions of fleeing and evading prosecution, adding their families wished to remain in South Africa.
The accused further stated that if this was their intention, they would have done so immediately after it was reported in the media that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was planning to prosecute those responsible for Simelane’s abduction and murder.
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In their affidavits, accused two (Coetzee), three (Pretorius) and four (Mong), represented by Klopper, emphasised that they were involved in Simelane’s abduction, but later released her near the South African/Swaziland boarder in Mpumalanga.
However, they said they had no further details of what happened afterwards and that amnesty was granted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in the late 1990s.
Coetzee, Pretorius and Mong were charged with murder only as they were granted amnesty for the abduction and kidnapping from the TRC, while Radebe is facing both murder and kidnapping charges.
When Simelane disappeared in 1983 she was 26-years-old and a student at the University of Swaziland, a member of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). She was a courier for the one of MK’s units.
Simelane was abducted when she went to meet one of her sources in the basement of Carlton Centre in Johannesburg, which turned out to be a police trap.
– African News Agency (ANA)