Former apartheid police officer João Rodrigues, who was facing a charge of murdering anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol 50 years ago, has died.
Lawyer, Ben Minnaar, told News24 Rodrigues died at his home on Monday night, and that he had been sick for some time.
Timol’s death was initially ruled a suicide, but this judgment was later reversed, and Rodrigues was charged with his murder.
At the time of Rodrigues’s death, he faced a murder charge and defeating the ends of justice.
Throughout his numerous court appearances, the 80-year-old did not plead.
In November last year, Rodrigues’s lawyer at the time, Jaap Cilliers, argued the delay in the case against him was deliberate, and applied for leave to appeal the dismissal of a permanent stay of prosecution application by the Gauteng High Court in 2019.
That application was later dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeal in June this year.
Timol’s nephew Imtiaz Cajee told Newzroom Afrika in an interview after the news broke that Rodrigues’s legal team went “out of their way” to stall proceedings, and made no attempt to clear his name.
Cajee said Rodrigues and his legal counsel “beat the system”, and that he “takes to his grave the answers he had about the true nature of events that unfolded in room 1026 at the Jon Vorster police station in 1971”.
He said his family and many other apartheid sufferers continue to fight against a “lack of political will” in solving decades-old murder cases.