As the family of anti-apartheid activist, Dr Hoosen Mia Haffejee finally received closure with the court ruling that the Durban dentist was in fact tortured and murdered by the apartheid police’s Security Branch, the family of Imam Abdullah Haron too were anxiously awaiting an outcome in his inquest, with Judge Daniel Thulare expected to deliver his judgment next month.
Haffejee, who was 26 years old, died while in the police cells at Brighton Beach police station, Durban, on August 3, 1977.
A 1978 inquest into his death by Magistrate TL Blunden had found that he had committed suicide, but the family were never convinced.
In 1997, his mother appealed to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to put an end to her two decades of pain and suffering stating: “I want to know the truth about how my boy died...”
The TRC concluded that it was likely that Hoosen died under torture.
Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge ZP Nkosi on Wednesday found: “I find that his death in the cell was not, as Magistrate Blunden found, self-induced or suicide.
“He was most likely strangled/ strangulated by third parties (none other than his torturers) using his garment.
“One thing is very clear and that is that the Security Branch officers who were involved in his kidnapping and torture were very much responsible for it.
“I have established that there are sufficient reasons to set aside the original inquest findings.”
Speaking on behalf of the Imam Haron Foundation, Muhammed Haron said they were not surprised with the court’s findings.
“I think it’s something none of us doubted, he was killed brutally and tortured, we wanted the inquest to reverse the (initial) findings.
“We are happy for the family. We are in the same boat waiting to hear what our judge will share with us.
In our case no one is around to be prosecuted, just the warden,” he said.
He added that if there were still culprits who committed apartheid crimes, they should be brought to book.
The court recommended that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) consider charges against the surviving members of the Security Branch.
KwaZulu-Natal NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said: “These findings will be sent back to the NPA who will have to establish if there is a prima facie case to pursue against these individuals.
“At the onset, the NPA will have to study the judgment.”
Final verdict in the Haroon matter was expected to be heard in the Western Cape High Court on Monday October 9.