Polokwane Executive Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng is proceeding with an application in the Northern Gauteng High Court to compel Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula to pay the legal costs of four police officers that are charged for killing her sister Nokuthula Simelane in 1983.
In an exclusive interview with Polokwane Observer on Tuesday, Nkadimeng explained that the policemen do not have the funds to pay for their defence and that the finalisation of the case was being delayed for that reason. “I am determined to know how my sister died 33 years ago and believe that only a court of law can finally bring resolve to our family,” Nkadimeng said.
According to Nkadimeng the High Court has given an order against Mbalula’s predecessor Nathi Nhleko on 23 March and the department was required to file replying affidavits before 24 April but failed to do so. Nkadimeng’s legal team will now file heads of argument and request the Deputy Judge President to set a preferential date to hear the matter. “I had to request the court to accept me as an intervening party in the four accused’s application relating to payment of the costs because it is the only way how we can get the matter expedited. It is not about persecution, but to find out the truth and to get closure,” Nkadimeng explains.
Simelane was an anti-apartheid activist and courier operating between Swaziland and South Africa for Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed branch of the African National Congress (ANC). She was allegedly kidnapped and later disappeared without a trace in 1983. Nkadimeng says that it was learnt that her sister, then 23 years old, was detained at the Norwood Police barracks before being transferred to a farm in the Northam district, where she was allegedly severely tortured and eventually disappeared. The police officers received amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for some of their acts, but not for murder and the current case followed after further information was obtained. “The policemen that are now charged did not fully disclose all the facts relating to the disappearance of Nokuthula and I know that there were more senior people involved in the plot.
Hopefully the court will find the real facts and allow the family to find closure,” Nkadimeng concluded.
Story: BARRY VILJOEN