AfriForum wants to oppose power abuse by police in judicial inquiry into death
4 May 2021
The Brits Magistrate’s Court today placed the judicial inquiry into the death of Solomon (Solly) Nengwane on the court role for 20 to 23 September. Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, acts on behalf of Nengwane’s family in this inquiry. The persons of interest are eight senior police officers in whose custody Nengwane died in 2006. Nengwane’s family approached the Private Prosecution Unit for assistance because no-one has been held responsible for his death almost 17 later.
The persons of interest failed to appear at today’s hearing. They were warned to appear in court on 9 June 2021, however, when they bring an application to prevent Adv. Nel from representing Nengwane’s family. Their application stems from the fact that Ntebo Jan Mabula (one of the persons of interest) is the officer who arrested Adv. Nel in 2008 during Jackie Selebi’s prosecution. AfriForum will oppose their application.
Nengwane was one of five people who were arrested in 2006 and questioned by the police after millions of American dollars – and drugs – had been stolen from a Benoni police station. The eight people of interest in the judicial inquiry were part of the task team that investigated the case. The stolen money and drugs were never found, however, and according to media reports various witnesses in the case disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Nengwane died on 6 June 2006 after he was arrested by the persons if interest. The official version is that the police took Nengwane to the Dr George Mukhari Hospital, and that he had already died when they arrived at the hospital. The police left his body at the hospital.
“It is regrettable that Solly Nengwane’s family is still waiting for justice to prevail after almost two decades, as well as for answers as to whom should be held responsible for his death. AfriForum opposes police power abuse. The fact that Nengwane died in police custody gives rise to serious questions about the actions of the police officers who were involved in this case. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit will therefor continue with the case to ensure that justice does prevail,” says Wico Swanepoel, lawyer at AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit.
Issued by Chanté Kelder, Media Relations Officer, AfriForum, 4 May 2021