20 May 2022
The sister of an Umkhonto weSizwe courier who disappeared in the 1980s has filed an application before the Pretoria high court to force a formal inquest into her disappearance.
Thembi Nkadimeng‚ who is currently the mayor of Polokwane, brought forward the application to force the National Director of Public Prosecutions and the Minister of Justice to refer the suspected kidnapping‚ torture‚ disappearance and murder of Nokuthula Simelane to a formal inquest.
In a statement issued by the Southern African Litigation Centre‚ she said that there has been no rest for her family since her sister’s disappearance 32 years ago.
“We know she suffered terribly but we don’t know how she died‚ and where her body is today. We have spent three decades looking for Nokuthula. Now we want justice and closure.”
Nokuthula Simelane was 23‚ from Bethal‚ when she was abducted from Johannesburg’s Carlton Centre by the Soweto security branch on September 8 1983. She was taken to a farm in North West‚ where she was tortured for several weeks. This is according to evidence heard at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Eight Soweto security branch operatives applied for amnesty for Nokuthula’s detention and torture. Five were successful.
In 2013‚ the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) turned down the family’s request for a formal inquest into her disappearance.
“Nokuthula’s case brings to the fore the need to adequately address the legacy and crimes of apartheid‚” said SALC’s director Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh. “Gross violations of human rights should not and cannot be swept under the rug.”