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Former Security Branch policeman’s testimony contradicts Aggett’s death details

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Inmates held at the notorious John Vorster Square were under police watch most of the time.  That’s according to a former Security Branch policeman Joe Nyampule.  His testimony contradicts a version given after anti-apartheid activist Neil Aggett died while in police custody in 1982.

In that inquest, the court heard there was no police patrols to check on detainees for three hours on that fateful night.

Entering the notorious John Voster Square as political activist, there was no guarantee you’d leave the premises unharmed or even alive.  It’s where anti-apartheid activist Aggett is alleged to have hung himself in his cell.  But his family has never accepted the apartheid government’s version of events.

In a quest to help establish the events of that fateful night, former Security Branch policeman Joe Nyampule give details.  He detailed how detainees were assaulted during interrogations.  According to Nyampule, those in police custody were made to stand for hours in various positions.  “Some of them would be made to squat, frog, stretch hands upwards, stretch hand sideward, I also observed that detainees were slapped with open hands,” Nyampule told the court.

None of the prisoners, including Aggett, were left unattended for over three hours according to Nyampule’s testimony.

“Impossible that there was no patrol in three hours because they patrol every hour as well as every 15 minutes peep through-hole to see if detainees are alive.”

This contradicts testimony from the first inquest which suggested inmates went hours without police patrolling.

Nyampule says being a Black police officer under apartheid wasn’t easy. “They called us the K-word before they addressed us, captain K.”

The inquest continues on Tuesday.

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