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Delays in COSAS 4 case overwhelming for relatives of victims

todayJanuary 23, 2024 27 1

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The son of Ntshingo Matabane who was one of the four anti-apartheid activists known as the COSAS 4, Tshepo Mokgatle, says while the prosecution of a former apartheid security branch member and a former askari, who brutally murdered his father, is a welcome relief  – the case is also overwhelming.

He was reacting to yet another postponement of the historic case against former explosive expert of the apartheid security branch, Christiaan Rorich and Thlomedi Mfalapitsa, an anti-apartheid activist who changed sides and joined the apartheid police force.

Their trial was postponed to May 14 yesterday after Rorich’s lawyer said he was not ready for trial.

The case has been dragging since 2021. However, despite the long wait, Mokgatle has told YNews that there is a sense of relief that they can finally get justice.

The duo face charges of kidnapping, murder under the apartheid system and crimes against humanity. The trial is the first where a case on the crime against humanity of murder and the crime against humanity of apartheid, will be heard in a South African court. 

Mokgatle has, however, lamented the delays and endless changing of judges presiding over the matter, saying the constant postponements don’t make things easy for the relatives of the COSAS 4, as its been 42 years now since their loved ones were brutally snatched away from them.

The Foundation for Human Rights has hailed the state’s decision to prosecute Rorich and Mfalapitsa.

The foundation’s attorney, Gina Snyman, who represents some of the families of the COSAS 4, says the move is long overdue.

The Congress of South African Students (COSAS) says has blasted at the judiciary for slow prosecution in the matter.

COSAS’ National Convener, Unesongo Matikina, says the elderly perpetrators should pay for their crimes.

  Jan Carel Coetzee, Willem Frederick Schoon and Abraham Grobbelaar were some of the masterminds behind the brutal attack against the four students. Like Rorich and Mfalapitsa, they were refused amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for the killing of Eustice ‘Bimbo’ Madikela, Peter “Ntshingo” Matabane, Fanyana Nhlapo and the attempted murder of Zandisile Musi in 1982. They, however, died without having faced justice.

The only survivor of the 1982 attack, Zandile Musi, passed away in 2021.

Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa

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