Justice and Constitutional Development Minister, Ronald Lamola, has requested the Western Cape Division of the High Court to reopen the inquest into the death of anti-apartheid activist and Muslim cleric, Abdullah Haron.
In a statement, the department said the decision to reopen the case was made in terms of Section 17 A of the Inquest Act No. 58 of 1959.
Haron – who was also known as Imam Haron – died while in police custody following his detention by the then apartheid government.
The court’s original finding was that Haron died as a result of falling down a flight of stairs.
“Mr Imam Haron died whilst in police detention on 27 September 1969 after being held incommunicado for 122 days.
“He was detained by the security branch, in terms of section 6 of the Terrorism Act and died at Caledon Square police station, Cape Town. The apartheid regime held an inquest in 1970. The findings of the apartheid regime were primarily based on reports from medical experts and police witnesses,” the statement read.
The department explained that the reopening of the case follows an “application by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for the reopening of the inquests”.
“The renewed investigation into the apartheid crime will consider expert reports from a State pathologist and an aeronautical engineer, and trajectory expert will provide a new perspective into the probable cause of the death of Imam Haron.
“An inquest must be so thorough that the public and interested parties are satisfied that there has been a full investigation into the circumstances of the death,” the department said.
In 2014, Haron was posthumously awarded the Order of Luthuli in Gold by the South African government for his work “exceptional contribution to raising awareness of political injustices”.
Source: South African Government News Agency