TO: All Media
ATT: News Editors, Human Rights Reporters
For immediate release
Friday, 20 May 2022
Posting on behalf of the family of the late Nokuthula Simelane:
Nokuthula Aurella Simelane’s Case To Be Revisited After 39 Years
Two prime suspects are scheduled to appear before court for the 1983 abduction, torture and disappearance of Ms Nokuthula Aurella Simelane, a former ANC activist. Ms Simelane’s family believe that redirecting post for her cousin Barney Molokwane and other operatives brought her to the attention of the Security Branch of the South African Police.
Ms Nokuthula Simelane had become involved with the uMkhonto weSizwe armed wing of the ANC, passing on messages between operatives. She disappeared while deployed on a mission in Soweto, Johannesburg. MK operatives from South Africa all the way to Angola were alerted of her missing status, with leads only appearing 12 years later after a published news article in 1993.
In 1995, it became known that she had been abducted (kidnapped) by members of the SecurityBranch of the South African Police and was held in illegal, forceful and violent custody on a remote farm in the Thabazimbi area for a period of about five weeks from September-November 1983.
The two suspects are former members of the Security Branch C1 Section of the South African Police.They are Willem Coetzee and Anton Pretorius. The unit flagged Ms Simelane as a member of the uMkontho weSizwe armed wing of the ANC for domestic terrorism, due to her association with exiled ANC cadres during her studies at the Swaziland University. The unit’s deliberate withhold of information, despite inadvertently exposing weaknesses in one another’s statements, expose the abduction and torture of Ms Simelane but nothing about what happened to her after.
Ms Simelane’s case originally had 4 accused:
- Willem Helm Coetzee
- Anton Pretorius
- Frikkie Mong
- Msebenzi Timothy Radebe
However, Peter Lengene expressed being coerced into making a false statement by Willem HelmCoetzee and Anton Pretorius with threat to his life if he didn’t cooperate in his statement to Andrew Leask on the 19th of Feb, 1996. The amnesty court case reports are riddled with inconsistencies,which the family hopes will be ironed out in the coming court appearance.
The case is scheduled to sit on the 23rd of May 2022 at the Pretoria High Court. The Simelane family is looking forward to honest accounts about the events that lead to disappearance of their daughter, sister and aunt. They hope to finally bring closure to what has been a terrible and long-lived ordeal for their family.
Contact Mr Bheki Maseko: +27 79 494 5491 or Ms Thembisile Nkadimeng: +27 (82) 553-6680 for more information.