South Africa: I Could Have Saved Neil Aggett, Former Security Branch Policeman Tells Inquest

analysis

Ex-captain says that had he been allowed to continue his interrogation of the trade unionist, 'he would be alive today'.

After two days of Martin Naude carefully shielding himself from personal culpability and sidestepping commentary on former colleagues' actions or interrogation, Naude has finally conceded on the stand to critical points that connect some dots as to why and how trade unionist Dr Neil Aggett died.

Naude was a captain in the Security Branch at the time of Aggett's death in detention at Johannesburg's John Vorster Square police station on 5 February 1982. The reopened inquest into Aggett's death heard on Wednesday that after Aggett's death Naude became even more deeply enmeshed in the sticky Security Branch web. He rose to head up the unit known as C2. This was the intelligence collection unit that worked on terrorism. Their information was passed on to the C1 Unit, known as Vlakplaas. It exacted a "reign of terror" of abductions, torture and killings at the time.

Early in Wednesday's proceedings, Naude was asked by advocate Howard Varney, acting for the Aggett family, about the "mysterious four pages" of evidence and if he believed the pages existed or were mere fabrication.

These four...

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