Pretoria court grants four former apartheid era policemen bail
Four members of the apartheid-era Soweto security branch were granted bail in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Friday, where they appeared in connection with the disappearance of Umkhonto we Sizwe operative Nokuthula Simelane.
Msebenzi Radebe, Willem Coetzee, Anton Pretorius, and Frederik Mong were released on R5000 bail each and their case was postponed to March 29. All four faced charges of murder, and Radebe an additional charge of abduction.
Simelane disappeared after security police arrested her in 1983.
She was allegedly taken to Norwood, Johannesburg, and later moved to a farm in Vlakplaas, North West, where she was tortured.
National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams decided on January 30 to pursue the matter.
This was based on evidence gathered by the NPA’s priority crimes litigation unit following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearings, NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said.
Radebe was facing both murder and abduction charges as he had never applied for amnesty from the TRC. The other three admitted to abducting Simelane and were granted amnesty, and would thus only face a murder charge.
Simelane was 23 when she was arrested. She was apparently on an ANC mission to South Africa from Swaziland under the pretext of buying graduation attire.
Two years after her disappearance, Simelane's family sought the media’s help to find her. Her picture was sent to various newspapers.
A policeman who had worked at the Vlakplaas police station identified her. The policeman said the last time he saw her, she had become ill as a result of the assaults she endured.
Simelane's remains were never found. Despite this, the NPA said it believed it had a reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution.