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Neil Aggett inquest: Judge completes Joburg Central Police Station inspection

Aggett died in 1982 while under arrest for his role in trade union activities. An apartheid inquiry concluded that he committed suicide, however, his family rejected this.

The window between what was interrogation room 1011 & 1012 at the Johannesburg Central Police Station during apartheid. Picture: Ahmed Kajee/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday concluded its inspection at the Joburg Central Police Station, formerly known as John Vorster Square, where anti-apartheid activist Dr Neil Aggett died while in detention.

Aggett died in 1982 while under arrest for his role in trade union activities.

An apartheid inquiry concluded that he committed suicide, however, his family rejected this. Justice Minister Ronald Lamola ordered a fresh inquiry which began on Monday.

The inspection by the court started with former apartheid security branch officers giving the judge details of how the headquarters looked like in 1982.

GALLERY: Inside the police cell where Neil Aggett allegedly took his life

The judge and legal counsel then proceeded to the notorious 10th floor where interrogations took place.

Former inmate Maurice Smithers described what he saw through a glass window.

“He was basically being made to run up and down on the spot. So, he would disappear and they [police] would be shouting at him and hitting him,” Smithers said.

“One of the guys was also walking around clutching something which looked to me through the glass like a rolled-up newspaper or magazine. He was hitting Aggett with it and I was completely baffled by the fact that I was sitting in this room seeing this happening,” he added.

The inspection concluded in the cell where Aggett died.

The inquiry was expected to resume on Wednesday.

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