Author Archive

December 07, 2018

The family of Mathews Mabelane has filed an affidavit in support of the NPA’s opposition to the Notice of Motion for a permanent stay of prosecution brought by Joao Roderiques.  Dr Hoosen Haffejee’s family  has  filed an affidavit to intervene opposing Roderiques’s application.

First Respondents Answering Affidavit – Jacobus Petrus Pretorius

First Respondents Supporting Affidavit – Johannes Lasch Mabelane

Application to Intervene – Sarah Lall



December 06, 2018

Ra’eesa Pather06 Dec 2018 11:53

Joao Rodrigues and Timol’s nephew Imtiaz Cajee (Getty Images)








Former apartheid cop Joao Rodrigues could be setting an unwelcome precedent for victims of apartheid if a judge agrees to halt his trial for the murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol permanently, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in court papers.

In answering papers at the high court in Pretoria, Torie Pretorius, the head of the NPA’s priority crimes litigation unit, said that if Rodrigues’s application succeeds, it could create a blueprint for other former apartheid-era police officers to avoid prosecution.

The families of activists who died in similar circumstances have also entered the fray to unite in a battle for justice for their loved ones.

Timol was tortured before he was thrown from the 10th floor of John Vorster Square (now Johannesburg Central police station) or rolled off the roof of the building in October 1971.

Rodrigues filed his application for a permanent stay of prosecution in October. In court papers, he said he had been denied the right to a fair trial by undue delays and that he is too old to stand trial.

Read more…

December 04, 2018



Ahmed Timol was the 22nd political detainee to die in detention in South Africa after 1960.









As old cases go, this one is dead cold. The witnesses to this murder are long dead, the weapon long lost and the case docket swallowed by time.

But there is hope that this murder, which happened four generations ago, might finally be solved.

Selvan Guruvadu died after he was stabbed with an assegai and shot in November 1913, and his killer was never convicted.

But earlier this week, almost to the day of Guruvadu’s murder 105 years ago, activists and community members marched to Phoenix police station in Durban to open an inquest into Guruvadu’s murder.

The opening of this inquest was inspired in part by the Ahmed Timol inquest, which recently resulted in the launch of a criminal trial.

It is also the latest in a number of inquests that have been inspired by the Timol matter.

Read more…

December 03, 2018



The first TRC hearing in East London in April 1996. Picture: Leon Muller/African News Agency (ANA) Archives









It’s 20 years since the submission of the report of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which was a court-like restorative justice body that sought to reveal human rights abuses under apartheid. When Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who chaired the TRC process, handed over the report to then President Nelson Mandela in October 1998, he was handing over more than a physical archive of memory of the past.

Tutu aptly called the TRC “the third way”. It lifted the veil of lies perpetuated under apartheid, offering victims, perpetrators and “implicated others”. To borrow American academic Michael Rothberg’s term, it was a horizon moment pregnant with possibility that oriented the country toward a hopeful (if unpredictable) future.

Read more…

November 27, 2018

2018-11-26 20:56

Kaveel Singh

Descendants of Indian indentured labourers have asked police to open an inquest into the murder of Selvan Guruvadu and others during the 1913 Natal Strike. 

Calling themselves Activists for Selvan Inquest (Asijiki), they made the request on Monday – almost 105 years to the day Guruvadu was killed on the Mount Edgecombe sugar estate. 

An assegai (spear) was used to stab him before he was shot. Guruvadu was part of a strike which Indian mineworkers and those living on the sugar plantations embarked on. At the time, the strike brought the economy of Natal (as it was then known), to a complete standstill. 

Plantation manager Colin Campbell was charged with the murder but he was later acquitted in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court.

Nothing new in reopening inquests

“It was very unusual for cases of this type to be brought before court.  The case is also one of the few where detailed records exist in the form of court papers that will be valuable to SAPS (the SA Police Service) investigators and the National Prosecuting Authority,” Asijiki spokesperson Kiru Naidoo said.

He added: “The idea of the reopening of inquests is not new. We have seen this in the Ahmed Timol case, which has given a measure of relief to the families now that the matter has gone to court.” 

Read more…

November 15, 2018

Refilwe Moloto speaks to Tilana Stander, Joao Rodrigues’s daughter.
Tilana Stander has been critical in finding justice for murdered anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol. She revealed to investigators where they could find her father, Joao “Jan” Roderigues, the Security Branch cop who will now stand trial for Timol’s murder, after the apartheid state had declared it a suicide.
November 12, 2018

November 11, 2018


Former apartheid police officer Joao Rodrigues appears at the South Gauteng high court. Rodrigues was an officer in the apartheid-era police’s feared security branch and is accused of being part of a group of policemen who murdered Ahmed Timol while he was in custody in 1971. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Ninety-something year olds worldwide are being tried for their political crimes, so what makes Joao Rodrigues think he is too old to face the music? 

The pitiful arguments he puts forward in an effort to escape prosecution is that he is 79 years old, travelling to Johannesburg from Pretoria for the trial is tiring, he has to walk with a walking stick, has diabetes and a heart condition, a fading memory, and should have been tried earlier. 

I would like to introduce him to an 81-year-old I know who is working two jobs, travelling overseas regularly and never complains.

Read more…
November 11, 2018
Former security branch officer sergeant Joao Jan Rodrigues. (Amanda Khoza, News24.)

Former security branch officer sergeant Joao Jan Rodrigues. (Amanda Khoza, News24.)

Jenni Evans and Zukile Daniel

Perched on a shelf at the entrance to Tilana Stander’s Cape Town home is the Afrikaans word for love – liefde – and wooden ornamental hearts tapped the wall gently in the summer breeze.

The peaceful home she shares with her husband Rikus is very far removed from her childhood home in Pretoria.That was where she grew up as the daughter of Joao “Jan” Roderigues, a member of apartheid’s feared Security Branch and the man who will stand trial in January for the murder of anti-apartheid activist and school teacher Ahmed Timol. 

Read more…

November 08, 2018

Affidavits of Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee and Mohammad Timol (including annexures) opposing the Notion of Motion brought by Joao Rodrigues for a permanent stay of prosecution against him.

IAC Affidavit     


Internal Memorandum: Report on the Progress made by the Task Team on TRC Cases

Date: 29 November 2006


History, suppressed: What didn’t get revealed at the Timol Inquest

By Kevin Bloom; 22 September 2017


Media Reports relating to Ahmed Essop Timol 1997 – 2015


Rapist Bob Hewitt enters prison in Port Elizabeth

Tuesday 20 September 2016


Former SS guard, now 94, faces trial in Germany

21 September 2018


Former Auschwitz guard jailed for five years over murder of 170,000 Holocaust victims

Elke Ahlswede Detmold

17 June 2016


Victor Jara murder: ex-military officers sentenced in Chile for 1973 death

Reuters in Santiago

3 July 2018


Operation Condor conspiracy faces day of judgment in Argentina court

Uki Goni in Buenos Aires

23 May 2016


Argentina missing: Omar Graffigna, ex-Air Force chief, goes on trial

3 May 2016


Guatemela: ex-military officers convicted of crimes against humanity

Nina Lakhani in Mexico City

23 May 2018


Apartheid cop accused of ‘delay tactics’ to avoid murder trial

Ra’eesa Pather 15 October 2018

Mohammad Timol Affidavit