From the news desk

Timol family allowed to intervene in Rodrigues’ stay of prosecution

The South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg granted the application of Ahmed Timol’s family to intervene in former apartheid-cop Joao Rodrigues’ bid for a permanent stay of prosecution on Wednesday.

Timol died in 1971 after falling from the 10th floor of the then John Vorster Square police station in Johannesburg, where he had been detained.

While the original inquest in 1972 concluded that Timol had committed suicide, the reopened inquest last year found that Timol’s death,  by Rodrigues own account, was caused by him being pushed.

According to his own version‚ Rodrigues had taken part in the cover-up to conceal the murder as an accessory after the fact‚ and had committed perjury by presenting contradictory evidence to the 1972 and 2017 inquests.

The Timol family brought the application alongside the Haffejee family in an attempt to be admitted as intervening parties in Rodrigues’ application for a permanent stay of prosecution in the murder trial of the anti-apartheid activist.

The Haffejee family had sought to intervene based on information that activist Hoosen Haffejee died in similar circumstances as Timol.

The apartheid police said Haffejee had killed himself by hanging himself with his trousers, but his family believe he was murdered after being viciously tortured. An inquest into his death is expected to be reopened next year.

Anwar Jessop, a lawyer representing the family of Hoosen Haffejee, told the court that his clients had a right to intervene because the outcome of Rodrigues’ application may set a precedent that will allow other apartheid police officers to avoid prosecution.

However, Judge Ramarumo Monama declined the request for the Haffejee family to participate as it would “not make sense for all other families of anti-apartheid victims families” to become intervening parties.

Nephew of the late Ahmed Timol, Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee Timol, explained that when court proceeding commences, the judgement will allow for the Timols family’s legal representatives to be a part of the arguments brought across in court proceeding .

Cajee said the primary argument is that due to the lapse of time, Rodrigues should not be charged.  However, the family feels that the National Prosecuting Authority failed to reinvestigate the case when it was brought up in 2002.

“If the NPA diligently conducted the investigation they would have traced Rodrigues and followed up on his colleagues that were responsible for my uncles arrest,” said Cajee.

Cajee noted that the court failed to determine who was accountable for the lack of progress throughout investigations.

“We are emphasizing that someone needs to be held accountable (as to) why this investigation was not completed. The same applies to some more than 300 applications that was submitted to the NPA for investigations,” said Cajee.

Cajee noted that Judge Mortley had ruled on 12 October 2017 that the other two security officers also be charged for perjury. Cajee expressed that “up until today that matter is still being investigated.”

The next court date has been set for the 28 of February 2019.

VOC / Tauhierah Salie

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