August 06, 2017

6 August 2017

Statement from the Ahmed Timol Family Trust


This week is the last opportunity for full truth to emerge

The Timol family has echoed inquest Judge Billy Mothle’s plea for people with knowledge of the true events surrounding the death of Ahmed Timol 46 years ago to urgently make contact.

The re-opened inquest into the anti-apartheid activist’s death in detention has recalled three witnesses (two forensic pathologists and a former security policeman) for further examination on Thursday and Friday, 10 and 11 August 2017.

Judge Mothle wants to further probe the evidence of two witnesses who claimed Timol fell from the 10-storey John Vorster Square building in the morning, and not in the afternoon as police have said. The judge also wants to hear about the timing of the event from a third witness, who has been subpoenaed to testify.

Extending the re-opened inquest’s sitting by a week presented a final window of opportunity for the real truth to emerge, said Timol’s nephew, Imtiaz Ahmed Cajee.

“The media has been very generous in its coverage of the inquest, and from the number of messages we’ve been receiving it is clear that South Africans have really taken our quest for justice for Uncle Ahmed to heart.

“Last week a former security policeman made contact to say he had been watching the inquest and believed the police witnesses were lying. The lawyers are speaking to him.

“But covering up his murder did not just involve the handful of security police directly involved in his torture and assault. It required a much broader conspiracy of silence that has endured since before his capture at a roadblock in October 1971 until today.

“The conspiracy included police, members of the state’s medical and pathology services, and the justice department, among others. It could only succeed in a society profoundly fearful of the police, especially its Security Branch, as ours was under apartheid.

“In 1972, when the original inquest ruled my uncle’s death a suicide, it wasn’t easy for witnesses to come forward as they risked being intimidated and harassed.

“They shouldn’t have those same fears in 2017,” Cajee said.

Ahmed Timol’s brother, Mohammad Timol attended every day of the original inquest from 22 April until 22 June 1972. “It was a tightly woven web of deception, pure apartheid farce,” he said.

“We understood the rules: Everyone involved in describing, arguing and deciding the cause of a black anti-apartheid activist’s death while in the hands of the security police was white. Regardless of the improbability of their stories or the extent of their lies the court would believe them.

“I suppose we hoped that someone, somewhere, would make a mistake, and an undeniable truth would slip out – but their lies have held until today,” Mohammad Timol said.

“We are very grateful to the National Director of Public Prosecution (NDPP), Mr Shaun Abrahams, for re-opening the inquest. We know that justice will be served this time. Our parents are no longer here to witness the record being set straight, but we know that, in heaven with Ahmed, they will share our comfort and relief.”

Anyone with information about Timol’s death is urged to contact Cajee, using the email address: i.ahmed.timol@gmail.com.

* The re-opened inquest resumes for the cross examination of witnesses on Thursday and Friday, 10th and 11th August 2017 at the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Pretoria in Room 2D. Members of the public are welcome to attend and proceedings commence at 10:00. This will be followed by a week for legal teams to prepare final arguments.


For more information please call Benny Gool on 082 5566 556 or Roger Friedman on 079 896 6899.

Distributed by Oryx Media.






  1. It is very important for those with first hand information to come forward and assist in this matter. For over four (4) decades, the Timol family showed maximum courage in waiting for the truth to be told and praise should go to Ahmed Timol’ s nephew Imtiaz Cajee who never stopped seeking the truth about exactly what happened to his beloved uncle. It is therefore very key for those with information to come forward and assist in order to bring closure by telling the truth. I hope the truth shall come out.

  2. Horst Kleinschmidt says:

    I never met Ahmed but I received literature purportedly sent by him. The SB raided our flat in Milnerton, Cape Town in 1971, W learnt of Achmed’s killing afterwards. The raid was connected to the Achmed arrest. I had just finished my term as NUSAS Vice President. The SB’s found illegal literature hidden in the bathroom, between the geyser and the ceiling. I was charged under the Suppression of Communism Act. Judge King let me go with a warning. I argued that I could not help it if people sent me banned literature through the post. I knew it was dangerous literature but, I said, I needed to first look at it before I destroyed it. The judge gave me the benefit of doubt.

    Then, in September 1975 I was detained under the Terrorism Act. I was working as Assistant to Beyers Naude at the Christian Institute at the time. From my house in Melville, Johannesburg I was first taken to John Vorster Square before being taken to Pretoria Central. At JVSquare I was taken to the 10th floor, first to Col. Johan Coetzee’s office. Then to Cpt. Olivier. Then Spyker van Wyk and Col. Gough and others took me to a Chrysler Valiant car to drive me to Pretoria, on the afternoon of my arrest. Before departing they drove up to the Government Garage petrol pumps at the back of JVSquare, to fill up. Spyker said: When Timol ‘jumped’ he fell on to one of the pumps and ‘it was a mess’.

    I pass this on, for what it worth, to your lawyers. Cedric Mayson, when he still lived, said there were no petrol pumps when he was held at JVSquare in the 80’s, but my memory of van Wyk’s uttering and the petrol pumps, is vivid in my mind.

    I regret telling you this as it adds to the pain of your family.

    Horst Kleinschmidt.

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