24 October 2017

Statement from the Ahmed Timol Family Trust


Forty-six years ago this week he was arrested and murdered by police

The Timol family today received correspondence (attached) from the National Prosecuting Authority confirming that police have received instructions to open three dockets pursuant to the cover-up of the 1971 murder in police custody of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol.

The charges follow Mr Justice Billy Mothle’s finding earlier this month in the re-opened inquest that security police murdered Timol.

Judge Mothle overturned the 1972 ruling of apartheid magistrate JL De Villiers that Timol committed suicide, and recommended that three former security policemen who gave evidence to the re-opened inquest face charges for committing perjury – and in the case of former Sergeant Jan Rodrigues, as an accessory after the fact of murder.

According to the letter the Timol family received from the NPA today, the investigating officer has made considerable progress in the compilation of the dockets.

This week, the family commemorates the 46th anniversary of the week in October 1971 that Ahmed Timol was snatched at a police roadblock (on the evening of the 22nd), brutally tortured over what must have been four unimaginably excruciating days, and finally murdered (on the 27th) – either before or as a result of being pushed or falling from the 10th floor or the roof of the John Vorster Square Police Station.

For 46 years the family has commemorated the loss under a cloud of official lies about the circumstances of his death, and for 46 years the police involved in murdering and covering up their crime, have evaded responsibility.

For 46 years the Timol family has not sought vengeance or retribution. It has sought only the truth, and for the lies to be expunged from the record books. Living under the shadow of lies is an injustice.

The police who murdered and covered up Ahmed Timol’s death might have contributed to the family’s – and society’s – healing and closure had they admitted to their actions and applied for amnesty to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Instead, most went to their graves with the burdens of their unacknowledged guilt.

The security policemen who testified to the re-opened inquest, even those not directly implicated in Timol’s killing or the cover-up, chose not to deviate from the official security police line. They saw, heard or spoke no evil, they said, they only saw it on the news.

Their attitude under cross-examination at the re-opened inquest was a matter of considerable disappointment to the family.

The Timol family appeals to former security policemen with knowledge of the deaths of other anti-apartheid detainees to approach the victim’s families and/or the NPA and/or NGOs in the human rights field with a view to telling the truth, bringing closure to the families and themselves, and contributing to sustainable reconciliation between former adversaries in South Africa.


Distributed by Oryx Media.

Letter from Dr Pretorius 24 10 2017