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Ex-apartheid security officer recalls being part of Neil Aggett death probe

Former apartheid state security officer Charl Lambrecht vaguely recounted the role he played as the fingerprinting officer while investigating Aggett's death.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Former apartheid state security officer Charl Lambrecht said that he only learned of Neil Aggett's death upon arrival at the cell where the activist's body was found hanging.

Lambrecht has testified at the inquiry looking into the circumstances surrounding Aggett's death.

The trade unionist's body was found hanging in his cell at the John Vorster Square Police Station in Johannesburg in 1982.

The apartheid police said that the activist committed suicide but his family insists that he was killed.

Lambrecht vaguely recounted the role he played as the fingerprinting officer while investigating Aggett's death.

As one of the first officials probing the scene, he was asked what he did on his arrival.

"I took photographs, my lord, of the deceased. I took four photographs."

He was pressed to say if he thought this was enough considering the high profile nature of the case.

Buckling under pressure, Lambrecht conceded that he could have done more.

"There were no people around me or talking to me or advising me what to do. I had to do it by myself."

The former apartheid state security officer could not recall if the pathologist was present at the scene and was unable to answer why the cell was not cordoned off during the investigation.

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