Roderigues: Urgent Appeal to Constitutional Court


Mr. Ben Minnaar, the legal representative of Joao Roderigues has written to the Registrar of the Constitutional Court seeking a date for the appeal of their client to be heard. This after Roderigues (passed away on 07 September 2021) was charged for the murder of anti-apartheid activist and educator Ahmed Timol on 30th September 2018.  

Attempts made by Roderigues to halt criminal proceedings against him for charges of Murder and Defeating the ends of Justice were dismissed by both the Full Bench of the South Gauteng High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). 

A 2017 re-opened inquest into the death of Timol found that he was murdered in police detention on 27 October 1971. The inquest court on 12th October 2017 overturned the original finding of suicide by Magistrate de Villiers at the 1972 inquest. This was unprecedented and prompted apartheid-era families to urge the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to investigate the more than 300 TRC cases forwarded to them.

In his correspondence to the Constitutional Court, Minnaar states the following:

We would submit that it is in the interest of justice to get finality on these issues.”

To date, it appears that no additional written submissions were made to the Constitutional Court by the First Respondent, the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) or the Second respondent, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services.  

The argument presented by counsel for Roderigues was that he was granted amnesty as part of the “special deal”. However, no record of the alleged “special deal” has ever been presented. Neither did Roderigues ever apply for amnesty to the TRC.

The FW De Klerk Foundation issued an undated statement that the NPA stop prosecuting apartheid-era crimes due to “an informal agreement between the ANC leadership and former operatives of the pre-1994 government.” 

Prior to his death, Roderigues attended 19 criminal proceedings whilst exercising his rights of appeal to the various courts. The criminal court matter was removed from the roll on 30 September 2021.