Anti-apartheid activist Neil Aggett’s sister recalls being told of his death

Aggett died in 1982 in the holding cells of John Voster Square now known as the Johannesburg Central Police Station.

Anti-apartheid activist Neil Aggett was tortured for three days before his death in 1982. Picture: Wikipedia.

JOHANNESBURG - The sister of anti-apartheid activist Dr Neil Aggett on Wednesday told an inquiry into his death how devastated she was when the police broke the news of his death.

Aggett died in 1982 in the holding cells of John Voster Square now known as the Johannesburg Central Police Station.

He was found hanging from bars in his cell. The apartheid inquiry concluded that he committed suicide, but the family rejected this.

Aggett’s sister, Jill Burger, said she received a call from a relative advising her that police were looking for her. She said she was excited, hoping that Aggett was going to be released. But an officer then arrived.

“He said: ‘I’ve got some very bad news for you, your brother Neil Aggett had died’. I can’t tell you what a terrible thing it is to hear,” Burger said.

She explained how she reacted.

“And I immediately said: ‘You killed him, you killed him.’”

The next witness to take the stand was Aggett’s family attorney David Diason who told the court how in his view the apartheid inquiry was biased.

The inquiry continues on Thursday.

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