TIMELINE: Neville Els and Seth Sons

Els & Sons

31 July

Neville Els (Courtesy of Oryx Media)


Neville Els testified at the North Gauteng High Court.

Read summary of testimony: https://www.ahmedtimol.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Annexure-D.pdf

Read police file https://www.ahmedtimol.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/J3-Neville-Els’-police-file.pdf

12 October

Inquest Judgment: https://www.ahmedtimol.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/INQUEST-JUDGMENT.pdf

Reference to Els and Sons: 

  1. Els should be investigated for misleading the Court that he only knows of the allegation of assault on detainees from the media. The police file records reflect that he was in attendance as one of the interrogators when Naik was subjected to the “helicopter” method of torture for which he lost the use of his hands.

 Sons should also be investigated for testifying under oath that he heard of detainees‟ assault from the media. There are five witnesses who filed affidavits to dispute his statement.

20 October

Cajee Notified by Acting Head of Priority Crimes Litigation Unit (PCLU)  Dr Torie Pretorius on opening of dockets:

Neville Els: 822/10/2017

Seth Sons: 824/10/2017

06 December

Telephonic conversation between Cajee and Dr Pretorius seeking update on investigations

05 January

E-mail correspondence from Cajee to Dr Pretorius referring to telephonic conversation on 6 December 2017 seeking update on investigations.

07 January

Cajee’s e-mail correspondence was responded to by Dr Pretorius on the same day stating they busy with internal processes

01 March

Cajee attended a joint task team meeting investigating TRC cases with Dr Pretorius. Followed up with email on the same day seeking clarity that the PCLU had transferred Roderigues docket to the South Gauteng Office

06 March

Further e-mail correspondence. Cajee wrote to Dr Pretorius and advised that the Roderigues docket was delivered to DPP, South Gauteng, Adv. Andrew Chauke. Els and Sons dockets were to be delivered to Adv George Baloyi during the week by Captain Ben Nel

07 April

Cajee sent email to Dr Pretorius seeking updates seeking updates on Roderigues, Els and Sons matters

09 April

Follow up e-mail after attending earlier Task Team meeting

12 April

E-mail response from Dr Pretorius indicating that Cajee could contact Adv. George Baloyi, DPP Gauteng North regarding the Els and Sons dockets. Same day response from Adv. Baloyi that Els and Sons dockets were being considered.

23 April

E-mail from Adv. Baloyi forwarding email he received from Advocate Andrea Johnson (dated 20 April 2018) reporting that she had spoken to the Investigating Officer (I/O) and Dr Pretorius regarding her understanding of Judge Mothle’s recommendations on the way forward. She provided Adv/ Baloyi’s office with a briefing and contacted the I/O on 19 April 2018 asking to collect files from her office so that queries could be attended to. Apparently the I/O, Captain Ben Nel was booked off sick and would collect files on 26 April 2018. Adv. Johnson stated that the queries were crucial in order to make a determination on the Els and Sons dockets. Once the I/O had dealt with this and the files returned, Adv Johnson would forward her comments to Adv. Baloyi

24 July

E-mail from Cajee to Adv. Baloyi seeking an update. Response received on the same day that when he enquired on the matter two weeks previously, docket was still awaited from the police. Adv. Baloyi would check if the police had returned the docket to his office and would provide Cajee with an update

28 August

Follow up email from Cajee to Adv. Baloyi seeking an update. Adv. Baloyi forwarded the e-mail to Director Sibongile Mzinyathi, DPP Gauteng Division and Adv. Andrea Johnson. On the same day, DPP Mzinyathi responded to Cajee that the previous correspondence with colleagues had been brought to his attention. He had been just informed by the Prosecutor that she had a discussion with the IO the previous day who was still busy with the investigations. Prosecutor to have report available by Monday, 3 September 2018

10 September

Cajee followed up with e-mail to Director Mzinyathi and copied Adv Baloyi, Adv Andrea Johnson and Dr Pretorius.

14 September

E-mail from Director DPP Mzinyathi informing Cajee he was out of the office from 10 September 2018 and had returned that morning and further explained:

“The prosecutor dealing with the matter spoke to the investigator, Capt Mathipa enquiring about progress regarding the instructions she had given for further investigations. The feedback from the investigator on 5      September 2018 was to the effect that he would meet Mr Frank Dutton for the contact details of witnesses. Whilst this office does follow up with investigator from time to time on the progress on investigations, it is the investigator who must go out and conduct same. This office is eager to have these investigations finalized so that a decision can be made in this matter, and we equally frustrated by the slow turn-around time of the investigations. The prosecutor will again follow up with the investigator on his scheduled meeting with Mr. Dutton.”

10 October

DPP Mzinyathi sent e-mail to Cajee informing him that the prosecutor had communicated with the I/O on 2 October 2018 who confirmed obtaining 3 statements that he would deliver as soon as he returned from Mpumalanga. The prosecutor had not received the statements for her perusal

06 November

Cajee sent e-mail and received no response

13 November

Cajee sent follow up e-mail reminding DPP Mzinyathi that no follow up response was received for his mail dated 10 October 2018. Cajee emphasized that time was critical in the investigations of Els and Sons and that this be expedited as they were in the early 80s. DPP Mzinyathi responded the same day that he discussed the matter with the Prosecutor who informed him of receiving 4 statements from the I/O in the previous week and she was in the process of formulating a response on this matter. DPP Mzinyathi was confident that he would be in a position to finalize the matter very soon

18 November

Follow up e-mail from Cajee to DPP Mzinyathi imploring him to complete the Els and Sons investigations. Will forward contact details of Dr Salim Essop based in the UK and he was able to assist.

Affidavits in the public domain:

Hanif Mohamed Vally

Kevin Martin

Ismail Mominiat

(17/08/2017: Mail & Guardian) Timol inquest: Jessie Duarte reminds apartheid cop of torture he couldn’t recall

10 December

Follow up e-mail from Cajee to DPP Mzinyathi highlighting his bitter disappointment in not receiving responses to earlier e-mails dated 6, 13 and 18 November 2018. DPP Mzinyathi responded on the same day that he was informed by the prosecutor that she communicated with the investigating officer (IO) on 2 October 2018 who confirmed that he had obtained 3 statements which he would deliver to her upon his return from Mpumalanga. Prosecutor had still not received the statements for her perusal

30 September

Email from Mr. Moray Hawthorn from Webber Wenzel (WW) to Adv. Chris Macadam: Meeting with NDPP on 13/08/2019 matter of possible charges against Els and Sons was discussed. Noted that Adv Johnson and NPA to follow up on these matters.

Chris Macadam responded to Mr. Moray Hawthorn from Webber Wenzel (WW) that the Els and Sons matter was dealt with by DPP Pretoria. As far as Macadam was aware Adv. Mzinyathi called for a report from the prosecutor dealing with the case. Once it was received, Macadam would advise accordingly.

02 October

Email from Adv Baloyi stating that a prosecutorial decision had been taken about the matter and arrangements were been made for its enrolment.

Cajee responded on the same day to Adv. Mzinyathi copied Adv. Johnson; Lizzie M. Maphutha; Torie Pretorius (JP); George D. Baloyi; lebeyaSG@saps.gov.za; Shamila Batohi <SBatohi@npa.gov.za>; Maria Mutshivhana; deputyminister@justice.gov.zablwilliams@justice.gov.za and reminded him that 2 years had passed since the historic 2017 Judge Mothle ruling and that the Els and Sons matter had not been concluded. The only conclusion drawn was that there was no will to investigate the matter. Also politely reminded that the NPA/HAWKS would be held accountable if either Els and Sons would pass on without the conclusion of the investigation

18 November

E-mail from Adv. Baloyi to Cajee that they are in the process of obtaining a centralization Directive to centralize the incidents that happened in John Vorster, to Pretoria

27 January

E-mail from Cajee to Adv. Baloyi stating no response received from last e-mail dated 8 January 2020. Also no progress on the matter for 2 years. Respectfully reminded again that blame will be laid squarely at his feet should the suspects pass on without ever been charged

28 January

E-mail response from Adv. Baloyi contents of email are well noted.  He will respond substantively regarding the case asap.

12 February

Email from Cajee to Adv. Baloyi that the name of Seth Sons had been mentioned by political detainees in the current inquest of Dr Neill Aggett at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. Response received on same day from Adv. Baloyi that he will check as to what Seth Sons role was. He wanted Cajee to come over to the office so that he can update him on some of the issues they were grappling with on some of the charges. Next week sometime when Cajee had the time.

13 February

Mail from Cajee to Adv Baloyi kindly requesting a response in writing as to what the issues were pertaining to charging Seth Sons and Neville Els?

Adv Baloyi responded same day: “We will address those issues in the decision on the matter which we will hopefully finalize towards the end of next week”. Also once again brought to his attention that the case against Neville Els (Age 85), Case Number 822/10/2017  and Seth Sons (Age 83), Case Number 798/10/2017 had been opened at the Pretoria Central police station in October 2017. More than 2 years and 5 months later, the investigation is still not concluded.

Response from NDPP Batohi to Adv. Mzinyathi: “I thought that we had attended to this. Please do”. 

25 March

E-mail from Cajee to Adv Baloyi that response from mail dated 13 February 2020 is still awaited

26 March

E-mail from Adv. Baloyi apologising for delay in reverting to Cajee. Indicated that decision has been finalised by senior advocate and he was busy with some quality checks. Request made for transcripts on 12 February 2020 and received on 4 March 2020 of 138 pages from Aggett inquest taking place in Jhb. High Court relating to Seth Sons. The transcription had to be perused to check if  this new allegation is covered by the existing charges or whether a new charge must be investigated. The instruction will be sent out after typing.

21 May

E-mail from Adv. Baloyi to Cajee that the NPA made a decision not to prosecute Els and Sons:


Read PR: https://www.ahmedtimol.co.za/npa-will-not-prosecute-els-and-sons/

21 June

WW made submission to NDPP requesting to review decision by DPP Mzinyathi not to prosecute Els and Sons:


(See Annexures: A – C2 and D – H).

It had taken the NPA more than 30 months (2.5 years) to make this decision after persistent correspondence from Cajee to various officials at the NPA.

Read PR: https://www.ahmedtimol.co.za/representation-made-to-npa-els-and-sons/

24 June

Rresponse from Adv R J de Kock, Head of National Prosecution Service that he would request a report from DPP Adv. S. Mzinyathi of the North Gauteng Division of NPA

11 September

WW e-mail to Adv. De Kock: “I refer to your attached letter dated 24 June 2020. May I follow up as to progress in this regard”.

14 September

14 September 2020: NPA letter to WW.

02 December

WW e-mail correspondence to NPA requesting update.

Response received from Adv R J de Kock same day. Office has received report from  North Gauteng DPP Adv S Mzinyathi and is attending to the matter


20 January

WW e-mail to NPA requesting updates on Els and Sons as per NPA letter received 2 December 2020. No response.

17 February

WW e-mail to NPA requesting updates. No response

05 April

WW e-mail to Adv R J de Kock requesting update

09 April

WW e-mail to NDPP Adv Batohi making submission to review decision by Adv. Mzinyathi not to prosecute Els and Sons

24 May

E-mail to NDPP Adv Batohi, copied to Adv S Mzinyathi and Adv R J de Kock informing them that no response received since 9 April 2021s

17 June

E-mail response from NDPP Adv Batohi copying: Cc:Sibongile Mzinyathi; Rodney J. De Kock; Mthunzi C. Mhaga; Nonceba MN. Monageng; Jan Daniel JD. Schmidt; Trish Matzke informing Mr Hathorn (WW) that she was looking into this.

20 July

WW E-mail to NDPP Batohi: “A month has passed since your last email. May we please have an update on the review of the decision not to prosecute  Els and Sonns”. Cc:Sibongile Mzinyathi; Rodney J. De Kock; Mthunzi C. Mhaga; Nonceba MN. Monageng; Jan Daniel JD. Schmidt; Trish Matzke 

Response from NDPP Batohi: “My apologies for not reverting sooner.  My Office will follow up on this and we will revert”.

30 July

Response from Adv. R J de Kock that he was in the process of reviewing the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions Gauteng Division, Pretoria



07 September

WW E-Mail to NDPP Batohi:

This matter has become unduly and unreasonably delayed.  It has been nearly 4 years since the Inquest Court made its recommendation that Els and Sons be charged with perjury.  It has been more than 14 months since we made representations to you on 21 June 2020 to review the decision of the DPP.  It has been than 9 months since your office received the report of DPP Mzinyathi’ on 2 December 2020.  On 9 April 2021 you noted in a communication to Webber Wentzel that “a review should not take that long.” 

We are instructed to advise you that if you do not make your decision by close of business on Monday 13 September we will approach the High Court for an order compelling you to make a decision.

20 September

Response from Adv de Kok to WW:

New Investigating Officer traced Sons. Will make representation to the Deputy National Director of Prosecutions -deadline 30 September 2021. Els also to make representation – deadline 30 September 2021.

Once legal formalities have been concluded, decisoon on the representations will be made.


08 October

Response from Adv de Kok to WW to correspondence sent 20 September 2021 and e-mail on 05th October 2021:

Office received response from son-in-law of Seth Sons that due to his ill-health, he will be unable to make deadline of 30th September 2021.

State Attorney’s Office confirmed that SC Fanus Coetzee will represent Neville Els.

Extension granted to Sons and Els to 25th October 2021 to make representation. 

Once legal formalities have been concluded, decisoin on the representations will be made.


02 November

Follow up email from WW to Adv Matzke:

In terms of your attached letter dated 8 October 2021 Sonns and Els had until 25 October to receive requested docs from the NPA and for them to prepare their representations.

03 November

Response received from NPA:

Office did not received expected representation from Sons and Els as per deadline of 25th October 2021. Given until 05th November 2021 to respond



05 January

Follow up email from WW to NPA:

We wish to follow up on progress concerning your prosecutorial decision in this matter, since your attached letter dated 2 November 2021.

Response Received:

Receipt of your email is acknowledged, a formal communication will follow mid-January 2022.

10 January

Resposne from NPA:

Acknowledged receipt of earlier correspondence dated 02 November 2021 and 05 Janaury 2022. 

Written representation received from Neville Els and Seth Sons struggling to obtain legal representaation.


11 January

Mail from WW to NPA:

Thank you for your letter dated 10 January 2022.

We would simply stress the importance of this matter not being further delayed having regard to the ages of the accused (especially in the light of Rodriques’ passing) and to the fact that a prosecutorial decision has been awaited for over 4 years ie since the judgment of the inquest court in the Ahmed Timol matter.

24 January

Response from NPA:

State Attorney’s Office confirms representaion for Sons to be made on 28/01/2022


16 February

Follow Up Email from WW to NPA:

Dear Sirs

We refer to your letter dated 24 January 2022.

In your letter of 10 January 2022 you informed us that Mr Els’ had submitted his representations.

Did Mr Sons submit his representations by 28 January 2022 as undertaken by his attorney?

Whether Mr Sons did or not we submit that a prosecutorial decision must now be taken urgently.

The longer this matter proceeds without a decision the ever closer looms the prospect of a failure of justice, in particular having regard to the age of Mr Els and Mr Sons. We further point out that it has been over 4 full years since Judge Motlhe reached his decision in the re- opened inquest into the cause of death of the late Ahmed Timol.

16 February

Response from NPA:

Representation received on behalf of Seth Sons on 27 January 2022.

Consideration underway for submissions made by Neville Els and Seth Sons.


14 March

Mail from WW to NPA:

Thank you for your letter of 16 February 2022.

May we please have an update on progress

15 March

Response from NPA:

Office is in the process of considering the submissions contained in both representations


11 April

Mail from WW to NPA:

Kindly advise whether a decision is made, alternatively, when we might expect a decision.

27 May

Mail to NDPP:

I am following up on the NEVILLE ELS and SETH SONS matter, emanating from the re-opened 2017 Timol Inquest.
Kindly take note of the summary below:

1. Judgment issued –  12 October 2017

2. Confirmation of dockets opened against Els and Sons – 20 October 2017

3. NDPP Decision not to prosecute – 21 May 2020

4. Submission made for NDPP to review decision – 21 June 2020

NDPP, the above timeline confirms that we are now five years into this matter.  I am still awaiting a prosecutorial decision on this matter. Correspondence on this matter has been sent over time, with various senior NPA officials attending to my request. Please take note that the accused are elderly, Els, 87 and Sons, 85. You are well aware that the other accused, Roderigues passed on in September 2021 without having his day in court.

27 May

Response from NPS:

Following up on sworn statement from Dr. Essop


02 Feb

Mail to Representation:

Checking to see if any update on Els / Sons matter?

05 Feb

Dear Adv Matzke

I hereby acknowledge receipt of your correspondence dated 03/02/2023, responding to my email dated 03/02/2023.

Six years have passed and we now have a situation where Professor Essop is not forthcoming with an affidavit. If this matter was pursued vigorously from October 2017 when the cases were opened, I am certain we would have a different outcome. 

I note that your correspondence provides no update on the Mr Seth Sons matter. What is the reason for this? 

Three witnesses in the Sons matter had provided affidavits almost six years ago. Another, Ms Jesse Duarte in a media article attested to Sons’s torture, has passed away. 

See: https://mg.co.za/article/2017-08-17-timol-inquest-jessie-duarte-helps-apartheid-cop-remember-torture-he-couldnt-recall/

As per the NPA presentation to Parliament, families are provided with monthly updates. Is there any reason as to why I do not receive monthly updates on this matter?  

A request was made to the NDPP in June 2020 to review the decision by DPP Mzinyathi not to prosecute Els and Sons. Almost 30 months later, can a decision not be made on this matter? Representations were made on behalf of Els and Sons, however, no update is provided on this matter.

I am certain that the recently appointed SC would be looking into the delays in the Els and Sons matters. 

Kind regards


18 Feb

Mail to Representation:

Dear Adv Matske
As per mail below dated 5 Feb 2023, two weeks have passed and I have not received any acknowledgement of receipt of my mail.
Kindly note that I am “fending off” my legal team who are keen on putting the NPA under terms in the Els / Sons matter. The no response to my mail in this long outstanding matter does not assist me in convincing the legal team to allow the NPA an opportunity to address this matter.
Please indicate when a decision will be made in relation to Els / Sons?
Your response is appreciated.