Johannesburg - A decision on whether the surviving suspects of the Cradock Four killings will face prosecution for the abduction, torture and killings of anti-apartheid activists known as the Cradock Four is expected in the next few weeks, assured NPA’s Shamila Batohi.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head, which presented an update on the Truth and Reconciliation Committee cases to Parliament on Wednesday, said a prosecutorial decision was expected in the next month to six weeks.
Batohi said the investigation was at a “very advanced stage”.
Her comments in the morning’s briefing have left the surviving families of the Cradock Four “very encouraged”.
In a statement issued by The Fort Calata Foundation on Wednesday, its spokesperson Lukhanyo Calata said they were pleased with Batohi’s commitment to better communicate the progress on TRC-related cases with families. This, after concerns were raised that the families of the victims were being mistreated by not receiving updates on their cases.
The Foundation said it was very encouraged that the decision to prosecute was imminent and the period stated fell well within the 37th anniversary of the assassinations of the Cradock Four.
Last year, the families of the murdered Cradock Four turned to the courts, in a bid to force law enforcement agencies to finally make a decision on the prosecution of those responsible for their deaths at the hands of apartheid police.
The Cradock Four, namely Fort Calata, Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto and Sicelo Mhlauli were abducted and murdered by the apartheid regime’s security forces on June 27, 1985.
“I want to thank the members of the Portfolio Committee on Justice for finally taking the matter of TRC-related cases seriously and holding the NPA to account for their years of neglect. We also want to assure the committee that we, as the families, will assist the NPA as far as possible. We understand how critical these matters are for the healing of our nation. We want to play our part in ensuring that we build the kind of just society that our martyrs died for,” said Lukhanyo Calata, spokesperson for the foundation.
The Foundation also welcomed the decision by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to reopen the inquest into the death in detention of fellow anti-apartheid activist Imam Abdullah Haron.
Lamola announced that he formally requested the Judge President of the Western Cape Division of the High Court to designate a judge to reopen the inquest into the death in detention of Haron.
Haron died while in police detention, on 27 September 1969, after being held incommunicado for 122 days. He was detained by the security branch, in terms of section 6 of the Terrorism Act and died at Caledon Square police Station, Cape Town.
The apartheid regime held an inquest in 1970 but their findings that Haron died as a result of falling down some stairs was primarily based on reports from medical experts and police witnesses.