Witness tells Aggett inquiry of 'brutal,' 'vicious' apartheid police

Aggett was found hanging in his cell at the then John Vorster Square police station in 1982.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Former apartheid security branch officer Paul Erasmus has told the Neil Aggett Inquiry how the South African police covered up some of the heinous acts committed by officers during the 70s and 80s.

Aggett was found hanging in his cell at the then John Vorster Square police station in 1982.

An apartheid inquiry found he committed suicide, but the trade unionist's family never believed this.

Erasmus joined the police service in 1975. He recalled how brutal the police branch was during his time in the service.

“This was another part of me that witnessed what a brutal, vicious, deplorable system the South African police was.”

He is expected to reveal the existence of a unit within the South African police called Stratcom, which specialised in misinformation and propaganda against opponents of the system.

Erasmus also previously testified before the Goldstone Commission, as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about dirty tricks played by the police during the apartheid era.