Ishmail Haffejee and Sara Lall with a photograph of their brother, Hoosen Haffejee, who died while in police detention in 1977.
Ishmail Haffejee and Sara Lall with a photograph of their brother, Hoosen Haffejee, who died while in police detention in 1977.

Ex-Security Branch officer tells of hidden injuries at Haffejee inquest

By Samkelo Mtshali Time of article published Sep 15, 2021

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Pietermaritzburg - IN the spotlight today at the reopened inquest probing the death of Pietermaritzburg-born dentist Dr Hoosen Haffejee was the injuries he exhibited on his arms, that former Security Branch police officer Mohun Gopal said had been hidden by charge office officers and senior Security Branch officers.

Gopal told Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Zaba Nkosi, presiding over the inquest, that Haffejee did not have any injuries when he left the Brighton Beach police station before midnight on Tuesday, August 2, 1977.

He said that he could not accept that the severe injuries that showed bruising on Haffejee's body were sustained before midnight.

He said he could not discount Dr Naidoo’s evidence that the injuries were there before Haffejee was booked into the cell, however the charge office sergeant would have made a note of it and it would have been booked in.

Advocate Howard Varney, counsel for the Haffejee family, put it to Gopal that the charge office sergeant’s evidence said that Haffejee had been injury free at the time he was put in the cells and that no one else had access to the cells as they were the only people with the keys.

“I don’t believe that, there were three charge office officers who had access to the keys. Something did take place because besides the normal routine examinations hour after hour, someone put on a long-sleeve shirt. He never had a long-sleeve shirt. How did that get on?

“Someone went into the cells and put that (shirt) on. They had access to the cells. When they found him dead. They are the only ones who had the keys. I can't account for what happened thereafter,” Gopal said.

Politics Bureau

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