The family of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol, who was murdered by the security police 47 years ago, will seek to intervene in former security police officer Joao Rodrigues’ bid for a permanent stay of prosecution for the murder and obstructing justice.
The 79-year-old Rodrigues was charged with murder after a historic ruling last year in the reopened inquest into Timol’s death, which found that Timol had not committed suicide on October 27, 1971.
The judge found that he had been tortured and thrown from the 10th floor or the roof of John Vorster Square in Johannesburg during an interrogation by the security police.
Judge Billy Mothle found that Rodrigues, the only suspect in the murder who is still alive, had fabricated a version of events to conceal the truth and recommended that he be prosecuted.
Rodrigues has filed an application in the High Court in Pretoria in which he contended that prosecuting him was inherently unfair and infringed his fundamental right to a fair trial.
He alleged the delay of 47 years was unreasonably long and that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) did not have sufficient evidence against him.
Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Silas Ramaite indicated he would oppose Rodrigues’ application and Timol’s family, represented by his cousin, Imtiaz Cajee, and brother Mohammed, this week launched an application to intervene as an opponent to Rodrigues’ application.
Representatives of other families whose relatives died at the hands of the apartheid security police have expressed their intention to participate in the proceedings.
Cajee said, in an affidavit, the inquest ruling was arguably the most significant step since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to fulfil the constitution’s founding principles.
He added that he had evidence that in respect of TRC cases, the police and the NPA had been captured by political forces who killed off attempts to see justice done and guaranteed impunity for apartheid-era perpetrators of gross human rights violations.