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Neil Aggett: Ex-apartheid security officer surprised 'terrorists' well educated

An inquiry is underway in the High Court in Johannesburg into the death of Aggett in detention in 1982.

Former apartheid security branch officer Joseph Nyampule. Picture: Ewdin Ntshidi/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Former apartheid security branch officer Joseph Nyampule has described the security of the holding cells during the detention of anti-apartheid activist Neil Aggett.

An inquiry is underway in the High Court in Johannesburg into the death of Aggett in detention in 1982.

He died at the then John Vorster Police Station in what was ruled to be suicide.

Nyampule was responsible for taking political detainees for interrogation at the then John Voster Square Police Station.

Nyampule says he only had certain access.

“When we are locking this burglar door, also the wooden door has to be closed. They were always closed.”

He says as he told that inmates in a certain section were terrorists, but he was shocked to learn that the detainees were well educated.

“That’s what surprised me is that they were being labelled as dangerous. I was anticipating a different type of a person as when one has to mention something in the movies and guerrillas being mentioned – I thought maybe I was going to see some gigantic people with big heads.”

Attending the hearings today include former United Democratic Front activists.