Family of anti-apartheid activist Ernest Moabi Dipale welcomes court ruling

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The family of anti-apartheid activist, Ernest Moabi Dipale has welcomed a ruling by the Johannesburg High Court. Judge Motsamai Makume ruled that Dipale did not die of suicide but was killed by security police.

Dipale, who was only 21 years 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, Dr Neil Aggett.

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

Former apartheid security branch hitman, Joe Mamasela has been fingered. The deceased’s sister, Boitumelo Dipale says she never cried since the day of his death, but 40 years later she can finally cry tears of joy now that they have found closure.

“Tenth floor John Foster Square torture survivor, but my brother gone, Biko gone, everybody gone. For what? Thank God my brother never killed himself,” says Boitumelo Dipale.

An inquest was opened to reconsider a 1982 ruling that Dipale had committed suicide.

Judge Motsamai Makume ruled the death was caused by apartheid security police.

“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, Nicholas Diedliefs as well as Joe Mamasela. I hand down the judgment.”

Boutumelo Dipale says it’s not only her brother and Ahmed Timol, who were brutally murdered, but many others. She would like to see all those families getting closure.

The NPA has welcomed the ruling, saying they will work closely with investigators.

NPA Spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane says this to ensure the Judge’s recommendations of the people to be investigated are met.

“It is a positive ruling. Both for the family members as well as the NPA. However, our work continues in gathering the necessary evidence, because in this proceedings they are on a balance of probabilities.”

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