IF YOU READING this piece, then you one of many South Africans turning to alternative media for a different perspective than the mainstream press. It is small consolation that we are all witnesses to the Aggett Inquest, continuing during the 30th year following the Mandela Release ,while FW de Klerk still refuses to admit any wrongdoing on behalf of the former National Party.
The party responsible if you recall, for deaths in detentions of persons such as Steve Biko, Ahmed Timol and Imam Haroon. Then there’s the assassination of David Webster, one of the defining points of the period prior to the velvet revolution which lead to the release of Mandela.
A man who some believe, would have been better off having not been released, if only to continue the struggle via other means.
Apartheid was (and still is) a crime against humanity — the daily news briefings abound of the tragic circumstances immediately proceeding the death in detention of Neil Aggett, an icon of student protest surrounding the anti-apartheid movement, are to be welcomed.
Yet I can only manage to howl and weep, because too little has been done to rectify the situation in which apartheid apparatchiks are allowed to go Scot free, while the victims more often than not, are given short thrift, with very little recourse when it comes to the law.
Hopefully the current generation, both black and white, will be inspired by the sacrifices which have been made, and speak out at the travesty which is occurring in the name of national reconciliation. Our children deserve better than the vacuous and tired explanations for these murders provided by those in authority.
As I write this, I am still bound by a racist 2019 decision handed down by one Bernard Martin of the High Court of South Africa, effectively removing my right to legal representation as contemplated by the constitution in a matter effecting the status and integrity of the TRC and its report, (and thus a matter filed before the Equality Court in 2015). As yet no legal professional has stepped forward to provide assistance, while Legal Aid South Africa has been allowed to escape its mandate of providing aid in cases where a substantial injustice would result from my not possessing an attorney.
If defending the TRC report from egregious attacks by apartheid criminals is not an odious task, requiring immediate assistance, then I fail to understand what would qualify?
It therefore remains for us to shout out to all and sundry, and from the rafters and pulpits if needs be, — it is not merely the apartheid justice system which is on trial at the Aggett Inquest, but rather, the entire South African justice system.
A justice system which began the year under a cloud of calumny, and in which the credibility of the entire system is still in question.
That the Aggett inquest may be too little, too late, is surely to be remarked upon by commentators, who no doubt may also question the manner in which the previous Timol inquest occurred, not because funds were made available by our government but because of the valiant and heroic activism of the Timol family.
It is not too late to call for a further commission of inquiry into the entire post TRC process, if only to demand that funds be made available in order to access legal aid in such matters.
In terms of the TRC Act, the Minister has the requisite power to call further commissions of inquiry, to hold further inquests and to assist those in need of legal aid. Instead the Minister has chosen to duck and dive, passing the buck under the current administration. An administration which will no doubt be wrong footed, and in contempt of the freedom struggle, which is the hallmark of the preamble to our constitution.