Statements from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu & Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC


Statement from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu following judgement in the re-opened inquest into the death of Ahmed Timol:

I wish to pay very warm tribute to Ahmed Timol’s family. Nineteen years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission found the police directly responsible for Timol’s death, and the inquest a sham, the family finally succeeded in persuading the State to re-examine the case. While it is sad that it took so long, and that there are many other TRC matters that have been left unresolved, it is exhilarating that the Timol family has been driven not by vengeance but by the pursuit of the truth and justice. 


Statement from Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC following judgement in the re-opened inquest into the death of Ahmed Timol

I am not being original, but today’s judgement in the re-opened Timol Inquest is a classical affirmation of the old adage that, ‘the wheels of justice may grind slowly – and they do – but they grind exceedingly fine!’

It also vindicates our own findings in the TRC on Ahmed Timol, in which we rejected the then-Magistrates finding that he had jumped to his death from the room in which he was being tortured and abused. We found that this was one of those so-called ‘staged suicides’!

Today’s findings should be a message to those current authorities who foolishly think they can get away with the proverbial ‘blue murder’ – in some cases, literally so. They may delude themselves that in the commission of their crimes they have covered their tracks, or because they are holding the levers of power, they can harm society in the furtherance of their own interests, with absolute impunity.

This Timol Inquest result should be a reminder that truth will out, and that victims do get vindicated – no matter how long it takes. While one can fool some people, even all of the time, one cannot fool all the people all of the time.

One trusts that the verdict today will lead to the NPA giving the prosecution of former members of the police who recalcitrantly sought to evade justice through perpetuating lies – your Rodrigues’s – a good shot!

Let us hope there is political will to follow this verdict with prosecutorial action.

* Advocate Ntsebeza SC is a former commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and head of the Commission’s Investigative Unit.