IN QUOTES | Barbara Hogan on regret, suicidal thoughts and justice for Neil Aggett

31 January 2020 - 07:00 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Former minister of public enterprises and struggle stalwart Barbara Hogan at the inquest into the death of Neil Aggett on Wednesday, January 29 2020.
Former minister of public enterprises and struggle stalwart Barbara Hogan at the inquest into the death of Neil Aggett on Wednesday, January 29 2020.
Image: Naledi Shange

ANC veteran Barbara Hogan on Wednesday testified at the inquest into the death of anti-apartheid activist Neil Aggett.

Testifying at the High Court in Johannesburg, Hogan said, 38 years later, the documents she compiled which resulted in the arrest and subsequent death of Aggett still haunt her.

Here are five quotes from her testimony.

Regret

“I was under pressure to just produce a report quickly. I myself, am still worried about it and it's still something I wish I had never ever written because of the consequences that it had not only for Neil but for everybody.”

Suicidal

“I managed to steal some tablets which had been prescribed to me for bruising and other things. I wanted to kill myself. I saw no way of getting out of the situation. I had friends who had been tortured badly at John Vorster Square. I saw myself being tortured to death for information I could not provide.”

Working under discipline

“I was one of those. I was not receiving instructions from the ANC but I worked within the broad mandates of the organisation. I would provide feedback on the work I was doing and attend debriefings.”

Protecting those close to her

“I spun stories. I pretended to be stupid. I cried a lot. I was genuinely emotional, but I tried to get as much time before I could make a statement. At some point I gave [the police] a name and they thought I was on their side. I was terrified because when they found out I had spun them a non-story, I would be in trouble.”

Justice for Aggett

“Neil and everyone who died in detention under these terrible circumstances need to have justice, need to be heard and have justice done.”


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