The South African government has announced its decision to reopen an inquiry into the murder of four anti-apartheid activists, a heinous crime that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. The victims, collectively known as the “Cradock Four,” were abducted and murdered in June 1985, making this case one of the most notorious crimes of the apartheid era.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola stated in a press release dated Jan. 5 that reopening the inquiry is “in the interests of justice to finally bring closure to the families of the deceased who have been waiting decades for the truth about who killed their loved ones.” Lamola emphasized that this step is essential for “confidence in the justice system to be restored.”
Despite two previous inquests held in 1987 and 1993, the investigations “produced more questions than answers,” according to Lamola. The Cradock Four, comprising Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkonto, Fort Calata, and Sicelo Mhlauli, were brutally murdered while returning home to Cradock after a meeting.
Their bodies were discovered days later, showing signs of extensive burning and multiple stab wounds. Suspicions pointed to the security forces under the apartheid regime, but no one has been held accountable for these killings.
The decision to reopen the inquiry reflects a commitment to uncover the truth behind this tragic event and to provide justice for the victims and their families. Lamola expressed the government’s dedication to addressing unresolved cases from the apartheid era, acknowledging the importance of bringing closure and transparency to these historical injustices.
As South Africa takes this step, it marks a significant move towards accountability and the pursuit of justice, echoing the nation’s ongoing efforts to reckon with its past and build a more just and equitable future.