28 May 2015

SACTJ press conference: the death of Nokuthula Simelane

Thembi Nkadimeng, mayor of Polokwane and Nokuthula’s sister, is spear-heading the family’s search of justice after Nokuthula, a 23 year old operative for Umkhonto we Sizwe (the armed wing of the ANC), was betrayed by a comrade and kidnapped by the Security Police in 1983.

The Simelane family has meticulously documented their decades-long struggle to discover the truth about what happened to Nokuthula, including who murdered her, and where her body lies. The political interference in post-TRC prosecutions that the Simelane family has identified and corroborated is a damning indictment on the South African government’s commitment to accountability – part of the trade-off that allowed perpetrators of political crimes to apply for conditional amnesty, during South African’s transition.

This most recent effort for justice is a landmark case, requesting a formal inquest into Nokuthula’s death. Although Nokuthula’s case is not a class action on behalf of all victims of outstanding TRC cases, this case is representative of all such incidents where victims remain without closure for crimes that happened decades ago. Other examples where impunity still prevails include the brutal murders of the Cradock Four and the PEBCO Three.

This press conference received extensive media coverage. Browse the articles below:

‘Political interference’ blocked TRC prosecutions – Business Day

Slain MK veteran’s family demands the truth about her death – Eye Witness News

 Mayor demands inquest into sister's 1983 death - Mail and Guardian

Family Seeks Justice in South Africa for Anti-Apartheid Activist 32 Years After Her Torture and Disappearance – All Africa

 Polokwane mayor wants truth about disappearance of MK sister – Times Live

 Did ANC protect killers? – City Press

Editorial: The state and TRC's unresolved cases – Sunday Times (subscription required)

In search of the truth the TRC failed to reveal – Sunday Times (subscription required)

Forgotten by the state: apartheid's uncompensated thousands – Sunday Times (subscription required)