Author Archive

April 19, 2019

Representations of Lukhanyo Calata to the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture




April 17, 2019

Families who have waited to see justice for decades-old atrocities are seeing new strides – despite unexpected resistance from the movement that ended apartheid in the first place


At his Pretoria home in 2017, Imtiaz Cajee, holds a portrait of his uncle Ahmed Timol, an anti-apartheid activist brutally killed in police custody in October, 1971. The families of victims from apartheid-era South Africa are joining forces to push for prosecutions in dozens of long-neglected cases.

The police were relentless in their pursuit of Albert Lutuli, the Methodist preacher and anti-apartheid activist who became the first African to win a Nobel Peace Prize. For years, they imprisoned him or kept him under house arrest, banning him from travelling.

And then, one day in 1967, Mr. Lutuli was mysteriously killed on a railway track near his home in Natal province. The authorities said it was an accidental death, caused by a freight train. His family was never convinced. It was just one of the dozens of unexplained deaths of anti-apartheid leaders – a grim toll that mounted in the final decades of white-minority rule.

Today, a quarter-century after apartheid ended, there is growing pressure to bring truth and justice to the families of those who were killed. But there has also been surprising resistance from an unexpected source: the government led by Mr. Lutuli’s own former political movement, the African National Congress (ANC).

Despite government pledges since 2003, and despite repeated pleas by the families of the victims, several hundred cases of apartheid crimes – including murder and torture – are still languishing on the dusty shelves of South Africa’s police and prosecution authorities.

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April 10, 2019

By Atilla Kisla• 9 April 2019 – DAILY MAVERICK

 Former apartheid police officer Joao Rodrigues Photo: Greg Nicolson / Ahmed Timol 

The crime of apartheid has never been prosecuted before. Therefore, the Ahmed Timol case can pave the way to prosecute the atrocious crimes committed under the system of apartheid.

Forty-seven years had passed since anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol was killed during his detention at John Vorster Square police station in Johannesburg when the South Gauteng High Court heard the matter of Rodrigues v NDPP and Others last week.

The applicant (Rodrigues), a former police officer who is indicted for the murder of Timol and for obstruction of justice, applied for a permanent stay of proceedings based on what he asserts as an unfair trial based on an undue delay of prosecution. The case was argued before a full Bench comprising Judge Seun Dimpheletse Moshidi, Judge Narandran Jody Kollapen and Judge Ingrid Opperman.

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April 08, 2019
Joao Rodrigues at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
Courtesy of Imtiaz Cajee

The accused, Joao Rodrigues (for the 1971 murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol) represented by his legal representatives, Adv. Jaap Cilliers, SC appeared before Judge Monama in the South Gauteng High Court (2A) in Johannesburg this morning (08th April 2019). The criminal case that was due to commence today has now been postponed to 09 May 2019 for the way forward. 

This will allow the full bench that heard Rodrigues’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution on 28th and 29th March 2019 to make a judgment. If the application by the accused is successful, the prosecution against Rodrigues will be permanently stayed. If the application is unsuccessful, a trial date will be set for the criminal matter.


Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee – Nephew of the late Ahmed Timol

April 01, 2019

SABC Digital News Published on Mar 31, 2019 SUBSCRIBE 504K

A full bench of judges has reserved judgment in Joao Rodrigues’s application for a permanent stay of prosecution. The 80-year old wants his defence to rescue him from standing trial for the death of Ahmed Timol, an anti-apartheid activist. A 1972 suicide version was overturned to murder by the Pretoria High Court two years ago. Rodrigues maintained that Timol jumped to his death from the 10th floor window. The incident happened at the then John Vorster Square police station.

Judgement reserved in Joao Rodrigues’ stay of prosecution case
March 30, 2019

By Yanga Sibembe DAILY MAVERICK – 29 March 2019

The family of slain anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol and the NPA want the prosecution of murder accused Joao Rodrigues to continue as the former security branch officer is in court to have the charges dropped.

The South Gauteng High Court heard arguments on Thursday and Friday from various parties with a vested interest in former apartheid cop Joao Rodrigues’s request for a permanent stay of prosecution for the 1971 murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol.

Rodrigues was charged with murder in July 2018 after an inquest found Timol was thrown to his death from the 10th floor of Johannesburg Central Police Station.

Rodrigues’s defence, led by Advocate Jaap Cilliers, argued that because of the period of time that has lapsed it would be unconstitutional for the state to proceed with prosecuting him.

Cilliers put it to the full bench, including Judges Seun Dimpheletse Moshidi, Jody Kollapen and Ingrid Opperman, and a packed court room that “this case is unique because of the enormous timeline” and that Rodrigues “did not try to evade justice”, instead he was just never charged by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

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March 28, 2019

Lowly apartheid clerk with heavy weight on his shoulders

When former security policeman Joao Roderigues appeared before Judge Billy Mothle in 2017 at the re-opened inquest into the death in detention of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol, he presented himself as a naïve and insignificant administrative clerk who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when he witnessed Timol’s suicide.

Roderigues was dismissed as a liar by Judge Mothle, who overturned the 1972 suicide finding of the presiding apartheid magistrate and replaced it with one of murder.

When Roderigues approaches a full bench of the South Gauteng High Court In Johannesburg, on 28th and 29th March 2019 for a permanent stay of prosecution for murdering Timol, the lowly security police clerk will be carrying on his shoulders the hopes and fears of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of surviving policemen, soldiers and politicians who have until now avoided being held accountable for ghastly crimes.

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January 20, 2019

NEW: Application for Permanent Stay of Prosecution

Judgement Reserved – Rodrigues Matter

Judgment has been reserved for the Application for a permanent stay of prosecution brought by Joao Rodrigues after court proceedings were heard on the 28th and 29th March 2019 at the South Gauteng High court in Johannesburg. Read legal documents below

Pan African Bar Association


Law Society

South African Litigation Centre (SALC) Heads-of-Argument-Rodrigues

Oral Submissions on behalf of Timol Family



Cajee 4th-Respondent_s-final-HOA.pdf


05 February 2019 – Responding Affidavits





25 January 2019: Heads of Argument and Supplementary Affidavit


Cajee Supplementary-affidavit.pdf

Minister of Justice & Correctional Services.pdf

13 January 2019: The confirmatory affidavits of Vusumzi Patrick Pikoli, Anton Rossouw Ackermann, Frank Kennan Dutton and Moray Hathorn to the 4th Respondent’s answering affidavit in the main application.


09 January 2019: Timol’s Nephew Files Answering Affidavit






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February 25, 2019

Opinionista • Nel Marais • 25 February 2019

Dr Nel Marais served in South African intelligence structures from 1984 to 2000. He is the founder of Thabiti, an international risk advisory company that focuses on sub-Saharan Africa.

Apartheid’s intelligence structures had virtual carte blanche – they tabled the information that led to the incarceration, disappearance, torture and murder of opponents, whether these enemies were real or perceived. This would have been impossible had they not been aided by hundreds of informants, both within and outside the liberation movements, whose identities remain a secret. In many cases, their deceit continues to impact on political, social and business relations.

In 1994, shortly after President Nelson Mandela had become South Africa’s first democratically elected head of state, he had a very blunt discussion with his security chiefs — many of them survivors from the former apartheid structures, although all the whites had by then acquired ANC cadres as their second-in-command colleagues.

As was his nature, Mandela’s request was straightforward, but the implications were Byzantine. He wanted to know, first, who had served as sources of information for the former intelligence structures in South Africa — Military Intelligence, SA Police (Security Branch) and the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

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February 24, 2019

BY ERNEST MABUZA – 20 February 2019

Former apartheid-era police administrator, Jan Rodrigues gives testimony at the inquest into the death of Ahmed Timol. Rodrigues was the last person to see Timol alive. Picture: Alaister Russell/The Times

Joao Rodrigues, the man accused of being involved in the murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol, cannot complain about the delay in his prosecution as the case was only instituted last year.

This was put forward in heads of argument filed by Imtiaz Cajee, Timol’s nephew, as he opposes an application for a permanent stay of prosecution by Rodrigues.

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 committed suicide, the reopened inquest in 2017 found that his death was caused by being pushed. It also recommended that Rodriques be investigated.

Rodrigues was charged in July 2018.

In their heads of argument submitted last Friday, advocates for Rodrigues said the basis for his application for a permanent stay of prosecution was that the prosecution would  infringe on his right to have a trial begin and be concluded without unreasonable delay.

But in a response filed at the Johannesburg high court on Monday, Cajee’s legal representative said no complaint of delay, prejudice or violation of fair trial rights could be raised by Rodrigues, given that the criminal proceedings only commenced in June 2018.

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