Neil Aggett was very downcast, former detainee tells inquiry

Keith Coleman, an anti-apartheid activist, told the inquiry on Monday about the torture that the other activists endured at the John Vorster Square police station.

A YouTube screengrab shows witness Keith Coleman at the Neil Aggett Inquiry on 2 February 2020. Picture: SABC Digital News/youtube.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Neil Aggett inquiry continues Tuesday morning with testimony from former policeman Paul Erasmus.

Aggett, a medical doctor and trade unionist, was found hanging in his cell in 1982. His family never believed the apartheid inquiry’s finding that he killed himself.

Keith Coleman, an anti-apartheid activist, told the inquiry on Monday about the torture that the other activists endured at the John Vorster Square police station.

He was kept there in 1982 along with other political activists. Coleman was 21-years-old when he was arrested.

He explained his last days with Aggett.

“I must have been coming back from a shower. Neil was walking towards me. I remember him very clearly looking at the floor. He was very downcast,” Coleman said.

Coleman said he was kept in isolation for at least 50 days.

Other witnesses who testified at the inquiry included Barbara Hogan, Frank Chikane, and Aggett’s then-partner Liz Floyd.