Neil Aggett inquest: Police did anything they could to you - Rev. Frank Chikane
Johannesburg - Former anti-apartheid activist Rev. Frank Chikane has detailed how apartheid security police tortured and subjected him to horrid conditions while he was in custody in the early 1980s.
Chikane was giving testimony at the inquest into the death of fellow former anti-apartheid activist and trade unionist, Dr Neil Aggett, who was found hanging in his cell at the John Vorster Square Police Station (now known as the JHB Central Police Station) in 1982.
The inquest is being held at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
A previous inquest which was conducted shortly after his death found no foul play was and ruled that he died by suicide despite his complaints that he was tortured by police before he died.
Chikane, who was also in detention when Aggett died, said the apartheid security police branch used harsh methods of torturing to get information out of detainees at John Vorster, to the point that some died in custody.
“We were tortured thoroughly at John Vorster. That is the detention where they used third degree methods, which means there were no rules. They trampled on you and did anything they could do to you. About three people died during that detention,” he said.
He said he was tortured so much, that when he was released in seven days later he was completely disorientated.
“I couldn’t even say where home was. They had to take me home and it took time to recover from that,” he said.
He told Judge Motsamai Makume that he had seen a much weakened Aggett being walked through the corridors a week before he died, adding that his state showed that he had been subjected to torture.
On Wednesday, ANC stalwart and former public enterprises minister Barbara Hogan also detailed how she almost committed suicide as she was repeatedly assaulted and tormented with impunity by the apartheid security police branch while in detention.