Imam Abdullah Haron
Imam Abdullah Haron

Call to reopen inquests into activists’ deaths

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Jun 12, 2019

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Cape Town - Fifteen days into the 123-day commemoration of the detention of struggle hero Imam Abdullah Haron, his family and the Imam Haron Foundation (IHF) want the country’s new minister of justice to open all unresolved apartheid murder inquests.

On Tuesday, Cassiem Khan, the national IHF co-ordinator, and Muhammed Haron, IHF chairperson said: “We plead to our newly-appointed Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola and related structures that they open all the previous apartheid managed inquests and all unresolved cases expeditiously without families having to knock on the doors of the Ministry.

“The IHF wishes to state that it always maintained the firm opinion that all those individuals, who were detained and who died while in custody during the apartheid era, were cruelly tortured and brutally murdered at the hands of the apartheid regime’s Security Branch members.

“And IHF is also of the view that this is a position that should have been recorded in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report that was eventually made public; this sadly was, however, not to be.”

The IHF said it was “extremely elated” by the recent court ruling in “the interest of justice and society’s need for accountability” regarding the Ahmed Timol case in Johannesburg’s South Gauteng High Court, and that it was that judgment that had encouraged them to try and get the inquests reopened. Haron was 45 years old when he died at the hands of apartheid security police at the then- notorious Caledon Square Police Station in the city centre, now known as Caledon Square, in September 1969.

The Muslim cleric was kept in solitary confinement for 123 days before he died.

At the end of May, the IHF, which was launched in February, organised an ongoing series of events to mark the 123 days the imam was held in detention.

At the time Khan said, “The #123 Days Campaign will be geared towards commemorating and memorialising the imam’s martyrdom by remembering his brutal torture and killing, as well as the killing of six other detainees (Nicodemus Kgoathe, Solomon Modipane, James Lenkoe, Caleb Mayekiso, Michael Shivute, and Jacob Manakgotla) who were murdered by the apartheid security police while in custody during the same year.

“All of these families only desire closure regarding their loved ones and this can only be done if the minister and others in the South African government act on the promises that were made at the end of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process where it was agreed that many incomplete tasks and unfinished business matters still needed to be addressed,” he added.


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Cape Argus

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