Statement from the Ahmed Timol Family Trust

“It is not too late for former security policeman Joao Rodrigues to tell the truth”

The Timol family hopes that former security policeman Joao “Jan” Rodrigues will view his pending trial for the murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol nearly 47 years ago as an opportunity to finally tell the truth about events in the 10th floor interrogation room in October 1971 that led to Timol plummeting to his death. 

The matter has been set down on the Johannesburg High Court Roll for tomorrow (Room 2E at 10am on 18 September).

By telling the truth, Rodrigues would not only provide final closure for the Timol family but also potentially assist other families still seeking the truth about loved ones taken from them by apartheid forces – besides taking the opportunity in his twilight years to make peace with his conscience and his country.

“If he were to tell the truth the family would support Rodrigues receiving a non-custodial sentence. Ours has never been a quest for vengeance,” said Timol’s nephew, Imtiaz Cajee, who wrote a book about his uncle titled, Quest for Justice.

Rodrigues is a man of 80-years-old today; Timol would have been 76-years-old had his life not been cut short at the tender age of 29.

Rodrigues’ prosecution follows the re-opening of the Timol inquest last year after the discovery of new evidence by the family. The former security policeman told the re-opened inquest that Timol committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor at John Vorster Square. His evidence was rejected by Judge Billy Mothle.

“To be honest, we did not foresee prosecutions following the re-opened inquest. All we have ever sought, as a family, is for Uncle Ahmed’s murderers to tell the truth,” Cajee said.

“Had Rodrigues’ evidence not diametrically opposed that of the forensic experts it is unlikely that the judge would have recommended prosecuting him. We understand that Rodrigues was part of a closed apartheid security system with which it would have been difficult to break ranks. However, the system that protected him in the past no longer has the power to do so. He has been left exposed.

“It is not too late for Rodrigues to state what really happened,” Cajee said.


* Issued for the Ahmed Timol Family Trust by Oryx Media (Benny Gool 082 5566 556 / Roger Friedman 079 8966 899).