The ANC in the province is calling for the reopening of the inquest into the deaths of Struggle icons Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch, on the 34th year anniversary of their death.
Williams and Waterwitch were killed when an explosive device detonated opposite the Athlone Magistrate’s Court and police station on July 23, 1989.
Williams who joined uMkhonto weSizwe in 1988 was born in 1967 and grew up in Bonteheuwel, whilst Waterwitch was born in 1969 and grew up in Athlone.
While apartheid authorities claimed the pair “blew themselves up” when the device detonated prematurely, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) at the time could not make a conclusive finding into the incident.
The TRC recommended that their deaths be investigated by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) ANC provincial-secretary Neville Delport said that Williams and Waterwitch were dedicated freedom fighters who played pivotal roles in the liberation movement.
“They selflessly fought against the oppressive apartheid regime, bravely challenging the injustices faced by the South African people.
Their unwavering commitment to the principles of equality, democracy, and human rights should forever be etched in our collective memory.
“The circumstances surrounding the passing of these freedom fighters have long raised concerns and doubts about the integrity of the initial investigations. Despite their significant contributions to the Struggle, their deaths were shrouded in ambiguity, leaving their families, comrades, and the broader community seeking answers.
“The ANC firmly believes that the pursuit of justice should have no time limit. The truths of history must be fully unearthed, no matter how long it takes. Reopening the death inquest of Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch is not only a matter of remembrance but also a commitment to uphold the rule of law and ensure accountability,” he said.
Imtiaz Cajee, the nephew of murdered anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol and one of the founding members of Apartheid Era Victims’ Families Group (AVFG) said that the call should not just be made by the province, but it should be made from a national level.
“We support the call, it’s not just for Coline and Robbie, we have many others who died during the time and families have never gotten answers. We are waiting for the inquests of many others to be opened. Families have been living through this ordeal since the TRC.
Families don’t have answers. We need the state to prioritise this matter. It’s a call that should be made nationally because they died fighting for freedom,” he said.
The NPA did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.