For Immediate Release: 11th June 2019
The Imam Haron Foundation wishes to state that it always maintained the firm opinion that all those individuals, who were detained and who died while in custody during the apartheid era, were cruelly tortured and brutally murdered at the hands of the apartheid regime’s Security Branch (SB) members. And IHF is also of the view that this is a position that should have been recorded in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report that was eventually made public; this sadly was, however, not to be.
Taking this position into account and as soon we heard the court’s ruling in “the interest of justice and society’s need for accountability…” regarding the Ahmed Timol Case that took place at Johannesburg South Gauteng High Court and that tangibly forced our democratic government’s justice system to bring this particular case back into the public eye as one of the TRC’s unfinished tasks. As IHF members, we were and are extremely elated on, at least, three accounts.
Firstly, we were very glad that Imtiaz Cajee’s persistent perseverance and his sincere efforts paid off to overturn the (apartheid appointed) magistrate court’s questionable decisions of the 1972 Timol inquest; one that ruled in favor of the Security Branch members – of whom Joao Rodrigues formed a part in his capacity as an administrative clerk – who were basically responsible for having physically thrown Ahmed Timol out of – then known as – John Vorster Square police station’s 10th-story window (room 1026) on 27th of October 1971. We were thus exceedingly pleased that the court, which was led by honorable Judge S. Moshidi along with Judges J. Kollapen and J. Opperman, unanimously decided to reject and waive Joao Rodrigues’ request for ‘stay of prosecution’ and that the full bench chose to have him immediately indicted for his role in Ahmed Timol’s cold-blooded killing.
Secondly, as IHF entered the 50th year memorializing Imam Haron’s martyrdom while he was kept incommunicado for 123 days for his dogged pursuit of social justice against the inhumane apartheid system, we honestly hope that the newly appointed members of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will not only bring Mr. Rodrigues to book but that the NPA will also seek to prosecute the abductors and killers – despite the TRC amnesty that was granted – of Ms. Nokuthula Simelane. On the 6th June 2019 the Pretoria’s North Gauteng High Court officially declared Ms. Simelane to be dead though her body has never been found; the finding was, however, based on the belief that those who had applied for amnesty were directly responsible for her disappearance and her subsequent murder.
And thirdly, we plea to our newly appointed Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola and related structures that they open upon all the previous apartheid managed inquests and all unresolved cases expeditiously without families having to knock on the doors of the Ministry. We would want the Minister and associated newly appointed government officials to (a) act pro-actively in the interest of all of these families that have encountered decades of trauma and (b) rule fairly in their as well as the nation’s interest for they have severely suffered in different ways; all of these was as a result of their cases not having been given any serious attention despite the extant evidence that had been around during these many years.
All of these families only desire closure regarding their loved ones and this can only be done if the Minister and others in the South African government acts on the promises that were made at the end of the TRC process where it was agreed that many incomplete tasks and unfinished business matters still needed to be addressed. All of those who were killed in the apartheid prison across the country belong to these categories and their cases should be given immediate attention. If this is done, then it will indeed assist in restoring the dignity of each of those individuals who had sacrificed their lives for the sake of social justice and particularly for the current and future generations that continue to experience inequalities at different levels in our democratic South African society.
FOR MEDIA QUERIES AND INTERVIEWS PLEASE CONTACT: Cassiem Khan (National IHF Coordinator) on 076 6407928, or Muhammed Haron (IHF Chairperson) on 082 6266766.
Distributed for the Imam Haron Foundation by Oryx Media.