Anti-apartheid activist’s death not suicide, but police action: High Court

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The High Court in Johannesburg has ruled that the death of anti-apartheid activist, Ernest Dipale was not due to suicide. Judge Motsamai Makume says Dipale’s death was as a result of police action.

The then 21-year-old was found hanging from his cell, inside the police station of the then John Vorster Square on 8 August 1982. This was about six months after the death in custody of another anti-apartheid activist and trade unionist Neil Agget.

The Security branch police had claimed that both Dipale and Aggett committed suicide.

Judge Makume delivers the judgment on Tuesday.

“Having heard all the evidence I have come to the conclusion that Dipale did not commit suicide. His death in the cells was brought about by the actions by members of the security branch at John Voster Square. However, it is difficult to say with certainty which of the members of the police killed him. My suspicion points out to two members being, Nocholas Diedliefs as well as Joe Mamasela. I hand down the Judgment….”