List was to ‘pro­tect Neil’

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Ber­nade e Wicks

Strug­gle icon Bar­bara Ho­gan, whose now in­fa­mous list of “close com­rades” piqued the apartheid po­lice’s in­ter­est in doc­tor and union­ist Neil Aggett, has ex­pressed her deep re­gret.

“It’s still some­thing I wish I’d never done,” she told the High Court in Jo­han­nes­burg yes­ter­day, of com­pil­ing the list. “Be­cause of the con­se­quences that it’s had – not just for Neil but for ev­ery­body – all the suf­fer­ing that peo­ple went through …”

Her voice trailed off. Ho­gan cut a slight fig­ure in the wit­ness box, where she was giv­ing ev­i­dence in the newly re­opened in­quest into Aggett’s death in apartheid po­lice cus­tody.

His death was at the time ruled a sui­cide but his fam­ily has al­ways main­tained he was mur­dered.

The no­to­ri­ous se­cu­rity branch had swooped on Aggett and his girl­friend at the time, El­iz­a­beth Floyd, af­ter get­ting hold of Ho­gan’s list.

Ho­gan told the court yes­ter­day, though, that she had in fact writ­ten it in a bid to pro­tect him.

Fear­ing that she had been com­pro­mised, Ho­gan had ap­proached Umkhonto we Sizwe op­er­a­tive Rob Adam and asked him to help smug­gle her out of the coun­try. Adam had re­layed to her that his su­pe­ri­ors were con­cerned about the se­cu­rity of the peo­ple she was work­ing with and needed their names to do an “ur­gent se­cu­rity assessment of each per­son”.

“I al­ready had con­cerns about en­dan­ger­ing the peo­ple around me and was agree­able to pro­vid­ing a list as I saw it as a way of get­ting some mea­sure of pro­tec­tion from ANC struc­tures,” she said,

“It was as a re­sult of my ap­proach­ing Rob to as­sist me with leav­ing the coun­try, to­gether with this in­struc­tion, that I be­came en­snared in an MK network that had been in­fil­trated, which re­sulted in me pro­vid­ing the two doc­u­ments which ended up in the hands of the se­cu­rity branch.”

Ho­gan was ar­rested shortly be­fore Aggett and held first at John Vorster Square – where Aggett was held – and later at Hei­del­berg po­lice sta­tion. Dur­ing an in­ter­ro­ga­tion on the for­mer’s in­fa­mous 10th floor, she said, she was hit in the face and on the back and threat­ened with elec­tro­cu­tion. She said a po­lice of­fi­cer fetched a ca­ble and a wet towel, but she was never ac­tu­ally shocked. Af­ter sev­eral hours, she started bleed­ing in­ter­nally and was re­turned to her cell.

The next day, ahead of a rou­tine ap­point­ment with the district sur­geon, she was told if she dis­closed what had hap­pened that she would be killed. Shortly af­ter­wards she tried to take her own life. “I saw no way of get­ting out of that sit­u­a­tion be­cause I knew many peo­ple who had died in de­ten­tion and I had friends who had been tor­tured very badly at John Vorster Square. I knew what they were ca­pa­ble and I saw my­self be­ing tor­tured to death.”

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