Family’s agonising wait nearly over
TODAY is expected to be a historic day for the family of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol, as they hope to receive the answers and justice they have been awaiting for the past 46 years.
The Pretoria High Court will deliver its judgment then during the reopened inquest into Timol’s death.
Judge Billy Mothle is expected to make a finding as to who was responsible for his death and make recommendations to the National Prosecuting Authority in this regard.
Timol died in October 1971 after falling from the 10th floor of the notorious John Vorster Square police station in Joburg. The original inquest accepted the version of Security Branch officers that he had committed suicide by jumping out of the window. But Timol’s family never accepted this. His nephew, Imtiaz Cajee, and brother, Mohammad Timol, in particular refused to let go of their quest for truth and justice. Their tenacity resulted in the court reopening the inquest, during which a series of witnesses testified over about a month.
From the start, the family said they were only interested in the truth and were not seeking retribution. They maintained that if the truth was disclosed, they would not seek prosecution.
But they changed their stance as the evidence unfolded and it was clear that those Security Branch officials who were involved in Timol’s detention had lied about the circumstances surrounding his death.
The handful of former officers who are still alive and were called to the witness stand – most of them deep in their seventies – stuck to their guns that Timol and others in his position were never tortured. This, even though medical evidence proved that Timol had suffered a number of injuries before he fell to his death.
The Timol family are now seeking jus- tice against those covering up crimes committed against Timol. Former Security Branch officer Jan Rodrigues, who was with Timol just before he fell to his death, said Timol had jumped..
ACTIVIST: Ahmed Timol