Daugh­ter gave up father to S Africa apartheid probe

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The daugh­ter of a South African po­lice­man present when an anti-apartheid ac­tivist died sus­pi­ciously re­vealed his where­abouts to the in­quest prob­ing the death, the vic­tim’s fam­ily said yes­ter­day. Joao Ro­drigues, a sergeant in the apartheid regime’s se­cu­rity branch, was present in the room when com­mu­nist cam­paigner Ahmed Ti­mol plunged to his death from a Jo­han­nes­burg po­lice sta­tion win­dow in 1971.

A 1972 in­quest found he had taken his own life, a ver­dict Ti­mol’s fam­ily have fought ever since. “She made con­tact with us and said she was in­spired that we were still look­ing for answers,” Ti­mol’s nephew Im­tiaz Ca­jee told AFP yes­ter­day ahead of Ro­drigues’ ev­i­dence to the in­quest into the death. “The last line of her email (to Ti­mol’s fam­ily) said she hoped we’d find clo­sure. This is what we’d wanted for all this years. She’s help­ing us out-we were sur­prised.”

Ca­jee’s ac­count of how Ro­drigues was re­vealed to be alive and lo­cated so that he could be or­dered to at­tend yes­ter­day’s pro­ceed­ings in Pre­to­ria was con­firmed by a source close to the po­lice. Ti­mol, a 29-yearold anti-apartheid vol­un­teer, was ar­rested in Jo­han­nes­burg in Oc­to­ber 1971 and af­ter five days in de­ten­tion died af­ter plum­met­ing from the tenth-floor of the city’s po­lice head­quar­ters.

Ti­mol’s case is be­ing re-ex­am­ined fol­low­ing a cam­paign to ex­pose the truth led by his fam­ily. “It’s tak­ing it to a new di­men­sion-we never thought we’d get Ro­drigues,” added Ca­jee. “He was the last per­son in the room with my un­cle. We were lucky when this email came.”Ti­mol’s brother Mo­ham­mad, who was in court, called the email from Ro­drigues’ daugh­ter a “very big devel­op­ment”.

“He’s now got to come to court and tell us if he stands by his story that Ti­mol jumped even though the pathol­o­gist said he bore signs of tor­ture and a tra­jec­tory ex­pert said there is no way he jumped.” Neville Els-a for­mer se­cu­rity branch of­fi­cer who spe­cial­ized in ex­plo­sives and in­spected Ti­mol’s yel­low Ford Anglia car af­ter his ar­rest-gave ev­i­dence on Mon­day. The judge in the case Billy Mothle warned po­lice wit­nesses that they could face pros­e­cu­tion based on the in­quest’s find­ings and their ev­i­dence to the court. Els, 82, re­peat­edly told North Gaut­eng High Court he could not to re­call de­tails of case. Els was one of the com­man­ders of Paul Eras­mus, a se­cu­rity branch of­fi­cer who told the court last week that tor­ture of de­tainees sus­pected of an­ti­a­partheid ac­tiv­i­ties was rou­tine. — AFP

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