Anti-apartheid activist Keith Coleman, who was detained at the then John Vorster Square Police Station in Johannesburg, has testified that there was a big commotion in the corridors of the cells on the night anti-apartheid activist Neil Aggett died.
He says Aggett personally informed him that he was tortured. He says on the night Aggett died, he was awoken by the noise along the corridors.
“I can trace that belief to the moment when Makveesen told me that Neil had been found handing in his cell. And the picture formed at that moment, people running past the cell, I immediately formed a view that they were running on the news that they’d found him hanging in his cell. In retrospect, there’s nothing to say that those people were not running for a different purpose. So there is an alternative explanation, there is no reason to say that those people were not running in to bring Neil’s body into the cells, or something else,” says Coleman.
Coleman said for too long he lived with the belief that Aggett had committed suicide because of the pressure of the interrogation.
Coleman concluded his testimony on Monday at the inquest into Aggett’s death in the High Court in Johannesburg.
Aggett was found hanging inside his cell on the 5th of February 1982. The security branch says he committed suicide, but Aggett’s family strongly disputes that claim.
Last week, businessman Sisa Njikelana told the court that he saw Aggett being carried away from the cells by a group of policemen on the night in question.
The inquest into the death of Aggett will continue in the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning.
Former security branch police officer Paul Erasmus who was initially scheduled to testify on Monday is expected to make his appearance on Tuesday morning.