Cape Town-born Dulcie September was shot five times outside the ANC’s Paris office on 29 March 1988. The 52-year-old was the party’s chief representative in France, Switzerland and Luxembourg at the time.
PARIS COURT HEARS DULCIE SEPTEMBER MATTER
Her assassination was deemed not to be an apartheid crime and her case was eventually closed in 1992.
On Friday, 17 November, Advocate Yves Laurin – who is representing the September family in France – presented his final arguments in Tribunal judiciare de Paris (Court of Paris).
The September family wants the murder investigation reopened but Friday’s proceedings dealt with the question of whether the French government should have provided the anti-apartheid activist with protection.
Before her killing, she had twice told the local police that her life was in danger.
“France basically aligned its legal opinion on the side of the apartheid regime in the 1980s. Both countries chose not to recognise this as an apartheid crime. It’s nonsense, it’s time for justice, to raise the bar,” said Laurin to France24.
Clement Arendse, September’s nephew, told the French broadcaster that the family still wants justice for Dulcie and that there was no expiry date for them. “She was defending democracy. She was fighting for people who couldn’t speak up for themselves. What she did do to deserve what she got?”
The Paris court’s verdict will be heard on 14 December. If the decision goes the family’s way and it is found that the French State failed to provide September with protection, an inquest into her death could follow and the case may eventually be reopened.
In a statement before the hearing, the September family said it was heartened that the hearing was finally taking place after 34 years even if it does not deal with Dulcie’s murder and the reason for it.
“Over the years, efforts to find the culprits responsible for Dulcie’s assassination have come to nought. The court hearing today is a step in the right direction.
“We hope for a favourable outcome, which is expected in about four weeks’ time, and it is our fervent wish that it will be a catalyst to a fully-fledged investigation into her murder,” read the statement.
In May 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Dulcie September exhibition at the Nelson Mandela Foundation Foundation in Johannesburg and said he would ensure French authorities deal with the unsolved murder as a matter of importance.
Speculation around the murder suggests September could have been killed by hitmen hired by the apartheid government. Some experts also believe she may have been targeted for uncovering information about France’s illicit arms deals with South Africa at the time.
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