Ruling party selling out the struggle by hiring Aggett's torturer: Cope

09 June 2015 - 11:58
By RDM News Wire

The Congress of the People (Cope) wants to know who in the “upper political echelons was so scared” of it emerging that an apartheid-era torturer was on government’s payroll that “the ruling party hastily decided to pay out millions in golden handshakes”.

The Sunday Times reported that “apartheid security cop Lieutenant Steve Whitehead‚ who was found responsible for struggle activist Neil Aggett’s death and now faces a possible murder rap‚ scored millions of rands doing intelligence work for the South African Revenue Service (SARS)”.

“The puzzle is slowly coming together‚” said Cope’s Dennis Bloem.

“The sudden dropping of the disciplinary hearing against (SARS seniors exectuives) Ivan Pillay and Peter Richter and the rapid granting of golden handshakes to them‚ now have an explanation.

“It was to prevent skeletons coming out of the cupboard.”

Pillay and Richter had been suspended pending the outcome of an enquiry into their alleged roles in the creation of a rogue spy unit within the tax collector. Proceedings were dropped as part of a settlement with the pair.

The Sunday Times obtained a payment schedule that shows Whitehead received 194 payments totalling R4-million from government entities — more than half of came from SARS — between 2007 and 2014.

“Despite facing a criminal probe into his unsavoury past‚ Whitehead’s company‚ Corporate Business Insight and Awareness‚ continued to score government work‚ including from SARS‚” the paper reported.

Aggett‚ a 28-year-old doctor and unionist‚ was found hanging in his cell at John Vorster Square police station in 1982 after Whitehead and his commander‚ Major Arthur Cronwright‚ tortured him with electric shocks for 62 hours.

A Truth and Reconciliation Commission report handed to Nelson Mandela in 1998 found that Whitehead and Cronwright were directly responsible for Aggett’s death. Neither applied for amnesty or disputed the TRC findings‚ the paper said.

In 2012‚ Pillay was said to be concerned at how “former apartheid operative Steve Whitehead” came to be hired as “a service provider to SARS“‚ yet payments to Whitehead continued for almost two years.

“No nation can allow an alleged torturer and killer from a past regime to be a big beneficiary of the new political order‚” said Bloem.

“Aggett gave his life for the struggle. He died a most painful death. We need to cherish his memory and do right by him after his death.

“The ruling party‚ however‚ is blatantly selling out our struggle.

“Cope supports the call that all those who were responsible for Aggett’s death and who did not seek amnesty‚ must be brought to book.”