Former security branch police officer Paul Erasmus has told the High Court in Johannesburg that they were almost brainwashed into protecting the apartheid state and preventing the spread of communism.

He says he felt that he was doing the right thing when he was part of the police force.

Erasmus, who also took part in torturing anti-apartheid activists, is giving evidence at the inquest into activist Neil Aggett‘s death.

Aggett was found hanging in his cell on 5 February 1982.

Erasmus has told the court that the training he received while working as a security branch police officer has played a major role in how he treated political detainees.

He says they were told that communists wanted to erase Christianity and they had to protect it as it was their religion.

However, Erasmus says the crimes he committed during apartheid years have led to him being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Erasmus says at some point, a house was bombed in Alexandra, killing a person who was inside and they were called to clean up. He says some of his colleagues committed suicide following murders that have been committed on innocent people.

He says the main purpose of interrogations and torture was to discourage freedom fighters from overthrowing the government.

The hearing continues.

Watch the Neil Aggett Inquiry below: