The firm has been involved in numerous complex litigious matters relating to human rights and social justice. One such case involves an apartheid era crime, in which we are helping to seek justice for the family of anti-apartheid activist, Nokuthula Simelane, who disappeared without a trace 39 years ago after being abducted and tortured by former security policemen. When she went missing, Simelane was a 23-year-old university graduate and acted as a courier for Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress. While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found that she was kidnapped, tortured and had disappeared, the location of her remains has not been revealed and her murderers have not been held to account.
In 2015, we were instructed by Thembi Nkadimeng, the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and sister to Simelane, to act in an application before the Gauteng Division of the High Court compelling the National Director of Public Prosecutions to hold a formal inquest into the disappearance of Nokuthula Simelane.
In 2016‚ a prosecution was brought against Willem Coetzee‚ Anton Pretorius‚ Frederick Mong, and Msebenzi Radebe‚ formerly of the Soweto Special Branch police‚ for their alleged roles in her murder. Since the indictment was issued, Mong and Radebe have passed away.
The case was meant to get underway in the Pretoria High Court yesterday but was postponed until August after the court heard that Willem Coetzee might not be fit to stand trial. He appears to be suffering from dementia and further tests are now being conducted to establish whether his condition is permanent.
To watch an interview with Thembi Nkadimeng, Nokuthula's sister, click here. For some press on the postponement, click here.
Our Pro Bono practice continues to make a meaningful contribution towards upholding justice for all South Africans, as well as protecting and enhancing the rule of law in the country.
This matter is in line with goals 10 (reduced inequalities) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.