A former police sergeant who saw anti-apartheid activist, Neil Aggett, just hours before he died, says she couldn’t protect him because those accused of his assault and torture were her seniors.
Aletta Visser was appointed to investigate complaints against her colleagues at the then John Vorster Square police station in Johannesburg.
She had obtained a statement from Aggett on the morning of the 4th of February 1982. Later that night, he was found hanging in his cell.
The apartheid security police claimed he had committed suicide, but Aggett’s family believes he was murdered.
Visser has been testifying at the inquest into Aggett’s death that’s being conducted virtually.
Aggett Inquest | Former police sergeant, who saw Aggett hours before his death, testifies:
She’s been using an interpreter to answer questions from state prosecutor, Shubnum Singh, on why she left Aggett at the mercy of officers he had identified as his abusers.
“He’s was detained on Section 6. I didn’t have the power to remove him from the cells and the investigation. The docket was out of my hands because the person involved was a senior officer,” says Visser.
“Did you inform your branch commander that the three people that Dr Aggett had identified, that had seriously assaulted him, were still in the midst of where Dr Aggett had been detained? Did you say, ‘please, remove him! Protect him! Did you say that?'” asked Singh.
“No,” responded Visser.
Neil Aggett Inquest – 22 Jan 2021