Ahmed Timol’s nephew questions if there was a political agreement not to prosecute apartheid killers



Ahmed Timol’s nephew, Imtiaz Cajee during judgment in the inquest into the death of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol, high court, Pretoria. File Picture: Jacques Naude/ANA

16/10/2022 IOL: Written by: Kuben Chetty

KwaZulu-Natal Politics and Opinions Editor

More than five years after a historic judgment was handed down in the reopened Ahmed Timol inquest in 2017, his nephew continues to ask if there was a political agreement that the murderers of apartheid-era activists should not be held to account.

Last year Imtiaz Cajee wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking: “I beg you to set the record straight. Was there an ‘informal agreement’ as alluded to by apartheid president de Klerk? And, if so, why?”

Cajee, who is in the final process of publishing his third book on the matter, has been waging a battle on behalf of apartheid-era victims.

Judge Billy Mothle, during his historic re-opened 2017 inquest, ruled Timol did not commit suicide on October 27, 1971, by jumping to his death from the then John Vorster Square police station.

The judge found Timol was murdered while in police detention.

Judge Mothle at the time said: “It is through the persistent efforts of Mr Imtiaz Cajee that this historic sitting of the reopened inquest occurred. His efforts should be emulated as an example of how citizens have to assert their constitutional rights.”

Cajee this week said his third book would expose why the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) matters were not dealt with.

“There is progress from the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) but we have to ask why TRC matters have stalled for so many years,” Cajee said.

Cajee, writing to Ramaphosa, said too many unanswered questions remained. “Questions pertinent not just to the Timol family but also to all the other families who lost loved ones to apartheid security forces’ depravity – and to the integrity of the nation.”

In his letter, Cajee asked about an informal agreement between the ANC leadership and apartheid killers.

“When the NPA and police announced the appointment of a dedicated unit to investigate TRC cases earlier this year, the FW de Klerk Foundation, in an undated press release, referred to an ‘informal agreement between the ANC leadership and former operatives of the pre-1994 government’.

“Comrade President, as a leader of the historic negotiations, with Roelf Meyer and others, that led to the advent of democracy in 1994, I beg you for enlightenment on the terms of the secret deal. Not just for the families who lost loved ones, but millions of South Africans victimised by the apartheid system deserve to know.”

Cajee wrote that the country owed it to its martyrs to hold those responsible for their deaths accountable.

“I now write to you as president of the ANC, the ruling party in the country, and as a former comrade in the trade unions who was himself arrested and detained by the Security Police.

“I implore you to break your silence on why post-TRC prosecutions have not happened under an ANC-led government?”

He said if there was a political agreement that the murderers of apartheid-era activists should not be held to account, ‘those they left behind deserve to know’.