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#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Former Minister of Public Enterprises Barbara Hogan is in Court 8F at the South Gauteng High Court. Today's proceedings have not yet begun in this matter. First Judge Motsamai Makhume is handing down two orders in other matters.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Advocate Howard Varney stands to first provide an update on the track of records from the first inquest into Dr Neil Aggett's death in 1982. He says the University of Sussex archive seems to have an original copy of a certain file.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan steps up to the witness stand. Varney thanks her for traveling from Cape Town to Johannesburg to testify. Hogan was detained at John Vorster Square. Varney refers to affidavits, including one signed 22 February 1982 and another signed this year.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan begins providing some background on her upbringing. She describes her studies and the student protest movement against the government in the 1970s. She says she was first arrested at the age of 18 years old.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan describes her involvement in organising pamphlets and other student activities, she speaks of the 16 June 1976 Soweto uprising and her involvement in a cohort of young people against the apartheid government.
"I felt it was very necessary to commit to an organisation which in my estimation still enjoyed the confidence of black South Africans, even though it was in exile. It has a tradition, a long tradition," says Hogan of the African National Congress (ANC) and why she joined it.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan highlights the non-racial position of the ANC as expressed in the Freedom Charter. She speaks about the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) which at the time was quite nationalist. She says the ANC, in contrast, was inclusive of all South Africans.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says, on joining the ANC, she specifically asked to not join uMkhonto we Sizwe and that was respected. She says she thought her skills and strengths were in political mobilisation.
#AggettInquest Hogan says she was fortunate enough to be released from prison a week before Nelson Mandela was released in 1990. She describes her appointment by Walter Sisulu to an interim leadership corps of the ANC. She describes her subsequent position in the ANC in Gauteng.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan goes on to describe her roles in Parliament, including the Minister of Health and Minister of Public Enterprises. She says she semi-retired and working in civil society. Varney asks Hogan to return to her time working with the ANC underground.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says there was apprehension about the ANC in some of the circles she moved in, part of her mandate was to persuade the white left, it involved persuading white left activists that aligning with the ANC and its Freedom Charter values was important.
"The ANC itself was facing its own challenges in exile around that time," says Hogan of young people leaving the country in "droves" after 1976. She says she traveled to see ANC members in exile, determined they were working off dated information on what was going on.
Hogan says she decided to inform her ANC comrades and under discipline. "I would submit myself to the discipline of the ANC," says Hogan. She says she was in a somewhat unusual position in that she joined the ANC underground, not MK. At first, therefore, she was a bit confused.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "That created confusion. What does she do?" says Hogan of her early work with the ANC. She describes her move from the Swalizand Command to Botswana, setting up a dead letterbox, and learning to encode messages.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she must have met Aggett in the course of my friendship with Gavin Anderson, who was involved with the Industrial Aid Society, and Anderson knew Aggett. She says she was very good friends with "Liz" in reference to Aggett's partner.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she never disclosed to Aggett that she was with the ANC. He said to her he supported the principles of the Freedom Charter but was a trade unionist and in his work he couldn't be a member of the ANC and any link to the ANC would be dangerous.
"He was an independent thinker, Neil was. He and Dr Floyd were exceptional people in my view," says Hogan. She says both worked incredibly long hours as doctors, Aggett had an incredible commitment to the health of South Africans, and also worked on trade union matters.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "I was very admiring of both of them," says Hogan. Varney then refers to mention in her statement of the ANC's Marius Schoon and Jeanette Curtis asking to meet Aggett in 1981. Hogan relayed the message to Anderson. "I conveyed it via Gavin," she says.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she wanted to keep distance between herself and Aggett when it came to the request from Schoon and Curtis for a meeting. She says Aggett did not go and he was right not to go.
Hogan was at the home of the Curtis family in Norwood in mid-1981 when a courier from Botswana informed her he had collected an envelope from her dead letter box but the envelope had been opened. The ANC was of the view it had been intercepted and she should leave the country.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan then left the Curtis family home and went to her flat, in order to make plans to leave the country. She placed her rent in an envelope for her flatmate and noted a line on the top of the envelope like that in the envelope in the dead letterbox.
En route to her flat, says Hogan, several cars followed her. She was aware she was begin followed, was under surveillance, so any interaction with her networks could put them at risk. Hogan determined (from the envelope in her flat) her communication had not been intercepted.
#AggettInquest Hogan says she scaled back her political work and reached out to someone from MK to see if she could leave the country illegally. She says she spoke with another ANC member about her worry that the Bostwana network being "very leaky" and wrote a report on this.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says her initial report on concerns about the ANC's Botswana network contained no names. It went to the high command and the ANC feedback included a request that Hogan provide further details (names) about the people with whom she was working.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest The report titled 'Close Comrades' is something, says Hogan, "I wish I had never written." She says so, not only because of Aggett but all the suffering it caused for other people, too. She begins describing the names and roles of some people mentioned.
#AggettInquest Hogan says she "knew for sure" Aggett was not an ANC member as he had told her he would not join. She included the phrase "only above ground work" in her 'Close Comrades' report and this pointed to those involved in trade unions and political mobilisation.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she gave this 'Close Comrades' report to Rob Adam and he then advised her to continue her political work as usual, as to do otherwise would inform those watching her that she was aware of being monitored.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she received a typed document purportedly from Schoon instructing her to establish MK safe houses with the help of the white political left. "I have often thought it could have been the security police could have sent that," says Hogan.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan describes being apprehended at her flat and her being taken with her flatmate to John Vorster Square. She says Major Arthur Cronwright was boasting and his speech en route to the station indicated they had obtained her 'Close Comrades' report.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says Cronwright was a very angry man, toward detainees and his own staff, sometimes he would go berserk, he was particularly wild among security staff and he did not seem on top of it. She says the white left knew him from campus protests.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "He saw us as the devil incarnate. He hated the white left," says Hogan of Cronwright. Hogan says she can only describe it as a "pathological hatred of the white left" in light of an incident on campus which, per Cronwright, broke his back.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says Cronwright had approached a Student Representative Council (SRC) president for arrest, but others blocked him and pushed him down the steps. Cronwright told her he had broken his back and Hogan says he would repeat this anecdote to her.
"When I got to John Vorster Square I wasn't taken to the cells. I was taken straight to the tenth floor. I saw Rob in chains," says Hogan. "Quite early on in that detention someone had left the 'Rand Daily Mail' with the names of those arrested. We were the first wave."
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she had to come to terms with the fact that her 'Close Comrades' document was in the wrong hands and people were at risk. "It was a completely terrible situation to be put in," says Hogan.
[SUMMARISED] Hogan: For three days or so I was interrogated on the tenth floor, finally I pretended to give them the name they wanted that wasn't on the list and they thought they had me on their side but I knew when they found out I had spun them a tail I was in real trouble.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Makume adjourns for a ten minute tea break.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan resumes. She describes several of her interrogators. They include interrogators with the following surnames: Deetliffs, Prince, Van der Merwe, and Cronwright. Hogan describes her interrogation which, in the first few months, excluded assault.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says the questioning was highly aggressive, with shouting, stomping and handcuffing her to a chair or heater. However, on 22 October 1981 two interrogators assaulted her on the tenth floor of John Vorster Square.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest On that day Hogan says Warrant Officers Prince and Deetliffs assault her, but she only recalls one strike from Deetliffs. "It wasn't slaps it was hard hits," says Hogan.
#AggettInquest Hogan says she was handcuffed to a chair and Prince hit her on the back and across the face. "I started bleeding internally," she says. Deetliffs, says Hogan, threatened her with electrocution. He called for an electric cable and a wet towel which weren't used.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says the assault on 22 October 1981 "was mainly in the first part of the afternoon" but the interrogation continued that day and she was taken to her cell around nine o'clock. The following day she had a scheduled visit with the district surgeon.
#NeilAggett Hogan says that the interrogators had overlooked her prior scheduled appointment with the district surgeon, Dr Norman Jacobson. Deetliffs, she says, warned her that if she told the district surgeon she had been assaulted they would take her to the mines and kill her.
#AggettInquest Hogan says the morning she was going to the appointment with the district surgeon Deetliffs remarked, "You bruise easily." When she entered the district surgeon's room, Deetliffs walked in behind her but the doctor told him to leave. He asked what had happened.
#AggettInquest Hogan thinks the doctor deduced she had been assaulted, as he asked her as much, but she answered matter of faculty, "No." Her blood pressure was very high, she says, and she was given an injection. She was petrified, hysterical, panic-stricken and beside herself.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest On 22 October 1981 Hogan was further interrogated with a lot of shouting. She continues describing how, in light of the treatment at John Vorster Square, she reached a point where she wanted to take her own life and she tried various methods.
[SUMMARISED AND NOT VERBATIM] #NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan: I was desperate. I wanted to kill myself. I saw no way of getting myself out of that situation. I knew people had died in detention. I knew what they were capable of and I saw myself being tortured to death.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest According to a statement Hogan gave in the late 1980s in one suicide attempt in October 1982 she took several pills, poured a tube of anaesthetic cream down her throat and tied an chord from a nightgown tight around her neck and then passed out.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she passed out and woke up the next morning to find the chord beside her in the cell. She thinks she must have taken it off in the night. She says the next day she asked a lieutenant to see a doctor but was dismissed with a sarcastic remark.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Cronwright entered the interrogation room, says Hogan, and said they were dissatisfied with Hogan and were going to take action. They then moved her from John Vorster Square to the police cells in Vereeniging.
#AggettInquest Hogan says following the arrest and release of a 'Close Comrade' a captain assaulted her using a piece of wood. "He hit me on my hip," says Hogan. The same captain, she says, hit her face with a rolled up newspapers. "I don't know if there was something inside it."
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says that the most intense interrogation session of her life took place on 15 November 1981. It involved revolving shifts (for the interrogators) of three hours each and Hogan says she was prohibited from sleeping throughout.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan cites the names of people who she says were involved in the interrogation from 15 to 16 November 1981. She names individuals with the following surnames (spelling uncertain): Abrie, Prince, Deetliffs, Naudé, Olivier and Van Aswegen.
Hogan records she was under pressure to implicate certain people, including Auret van Heerden and Neil Aggett. She says Whitehead, who wasn't part of her interrogation team, would occasionally join and had a special, morbid, unhealthy interest in Floyd and the relationship.
"It was icky stuff," says Hogan of what Whitehead asked about Aggett and Floyd, asking about their relationship, who wore the pants in the relationship, commenting on their lifestyle (living standards, for instance) and "was implying they didn't know what was good for them."
"I really believe that Neil was not connected to the ANC underground," says Hogan. She says the nature of interrogation wasn't driven by intelligence because the 'Close Comrades' report listed Aggett as someone she worked with above ground and he was not listed an ANC member.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she would not lie to the ANC and so, to her, it made no sense that her interrogators though the document did not reflect people's actual status. She says that she was placed under pressure to implicate people as ANC members, including Aggett.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says the cells were regularly searched. "I was not allowed books at John Vorster Square [...] later on I was taken out of John Vorster Square and I was taken to Heidelberg police cells [...] I was allowed two books a week," says Hogan.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "I was only allowed books after interrogation," says Hogan. She describes all the "games" interrogators would play, such as removing a bed after interrogation if the interrogation did not go according to the interrogators' liking.
#AggettInquest Hogan describes the last time she saw Aggett alive. She says she was in a waiting area for some processing when he came in accompanied by a handler, he saw her, gave her a big smile and raised his hand in the amandla salute. She noticed his shirt's cuff was torn.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan: You know Deetliffs was particularly vicious with me. He had a nasty side.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Varney asks Hogan about her work as the ANC Secretary General in the 1990s. She receives a phone call from a person who identified themselves as Deetliffs and asked, "How are you?" She said he never cared about her well-being and slammed down the phone.
MT: #NeilAggett #AggettInquest Varney has no further questions. Hogan says she has described her experiences but others went through much worse. She says Aggett, others who died in detention must be heard and get justice.
Makume adjourns. Proceedings are set to resume at 14:00.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Proceedings resume. Hogan describes her take on the National Party (NP) view of black unions in the 1970s, which she has previously described as hostile.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan only has hearsay information on how the communication was intercepted. She reflects a handler for Adam being seen filling up at John Vorster Square and it emerged during torture of a detainee that a handler or askari was a double agent.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Cronwright was never stopped by colleagues went he went off. Hogan says she was aware there was a lot of consultation with Pretoria and two large swish cars she presumed were transporting Cabinet ministers.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan: So, when one talks about big brass, there was pressure coming from the top.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says some 50 people were arrested in connection with this case, including Minister Pravin Gordhan. She says they were arrested in waves and in various provinces.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "One of them came down and said she was terribly shocked and she had handed in her resignation and she was pregnant and she was going to call her child after me," says Hogan of a female railway officer's response to one of Hogan's torture ordeals.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "I never got into, you know, silly insults or whatever but I just had the abiding impression they were out of their depth," says Hogan of the interrogators' apparent inability to question or deal with political detainees who weren't MK members.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she was tried for treason and being a member of a banned organisation. The matter was heard in the same court we sit in today. She was sentenced to ten years for treason, and four years for being a member of a banned organisation.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "There were many offices that I was taken back and forward to," says Hogan. She says white women officers would collect her from her cell and accompany her, she thinks via lift, to the tenth floor at John Vorster Square for interrogation.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she was allowed to keep "very little" in her cell, including non-perishable foods ("like a biscuit, not a lot") and her clothes but no shoelaces or belt. "I wasn't allowed to keep my medication in my cell," says Hogan.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "The only time I really saw people was when they saw food," says Hogan on cell visits. She does not recall regularly cell visits, rather maybe one or two.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest To Hogan's knowledge none of the interrogators who assaulted her applied for amnesty. Counsel for Colonel Roelf Venter and Warrant Officer Nickolaus Deetliffs stands now. He asks Hogan if some of Cronwright's staff called him Hitler. She agrees.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "They were undermining each other and some of it seemed to be politically motivated," says Hogan of the split or tensions between uniformed members and security branch members at John Vorster Square.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan indicates, in her view, the uniformed members at John Vorster Square had a clearer and more regimented hierarchy (or, rank and file) in contrast with the security branch members.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Advocate Stephanus Johannes Coetzee for Venter and Deetliffs asks Hogan about items, such as items of clothing, and asks what she was permitted to keep in her cell. "At some stage they allowed playing cards. There was food," says Hogan.
Coetzee asks if prior to this time, in her life, Hogan had ever tried to take her own life. "No," she says. After Aggett's death she started to have sever nightmares, insomnia, she cried a lot, she was taken to an army doctor "who was extremely hostile, he shouted at me".
#AggettInquest Hogan describes her distress after Aggett's death. At the time she was held at police cells in Vereeniging. She says, "After two months, I was really cracking up [...] I called in the police and I said, 'You remove everything from my cell or I will kill myself.'"
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "I was just woken up in prison one morning and told I was going to court. This is the assault case," says Hogan. In January 1982, she laid a complaint about certain assaults with the Inspector of Detainees and the matter was heard in mid-1982.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Coetzee says his instructions are that Deetliffs denies ever assaulting Hogan. A pregnant pause. Hogan speaks, at first quietly. "He's not telling the truth," says Hogan. She asks why she would lay charges if he had never done so.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "Did they each have their own specific method that they used to interrogate?" asks Coetzee. Hogan replies, "I think they switched between persona all the time. There were some that were consistently, overtly aggressive all the time. Like Prince."
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says Deetliffs would be vindictive, he was nasty in many ways. Coetzee refers to the fact that communism and various organisations were banned at the time.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Without wanting to justify the actions, says Coetzee, were the interrogators' actions informed by a mandate? "The purpose of the interrogation was to obtain a statement," Hogan replies, citing law, which allowed for that at the time.
[SUMMARISED] #NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan: My impression was that torture was part of the standard methods of interrogation on the tenth floor at John Vorster Square. It was the same when they took me to the Eastern Cape. I heard people's screams.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she had the impression the investigation competence and detective work of interrogators was lacking. They would, she has suggested, resort to battery seeking to compel detainees to make statements and neglected more thoughtful detective work.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest "My impression was they were investigating but they were using torture to [conduct] their investigation," Hogan tells Coetzee. Coetzee sits and Varney stands to ask further questions.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Varney asks if tough laws (such as those at the time on communism and banned organisations) justify tough action. "Torture was illegal," says Hogan, as part of her reply.
[PARAPHRASED] #NeilAggett Hogan: Many of them were very, very racist. You know, doing this for Die Volk, doing this against the rooi gevaar, swart gevaar, black insurrection. They saw us as evil. You know, they saw us as their enemy and the enemy of the apartheid state.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Makume asks Hogan about the last time Hogan saw Aggett alive, where she saw him (this was at John Vorster Square) and when. "It was in January, yes. I was moved I think on the fourth or the fifth of January," says Hogan.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Hogan says she was transported from police cells in Heidelberg and while in the vehicle she saw a newspaper poster which said, "The poster said, 'Detainee's Death Causes Furore'." She then says she asked the handler in the car who it was.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Makume thanks Hogan and says he hopes to read her book someday. She jokes he sounds like her late husband. Makume adjourns until 09:30 tomorrow.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Reverend Frank Chikane is set to testify tomorrow.
#NeilAggett #AggettInquest Stay tuned for my report on today's proceedings. It is due to air on #eNCA403 this hour with @maggsonmedia and @UvekaR on South Africa Tonight.
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