Ti­mol vin­di­cated at long last

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - OPINION -

For Ahmed Ti­mol, his fam­ily and his anti-apartheid strug­gle com­rades, jus­tice may have been de­layed – by al­most ex­actly 46 years – but it was not de­nied yes­ter­day when a high court in­quest found he was mur­dered by se­cu­rity po­lice in­ter­roga­tors. The po­lice claimed Ti­mol had leapt to his death from po­lice head­quar­ters in Jo­han­nes­burg in Oc­to­ber 1971, while un­der­go­ing ques­tion­ing. That claim was later con­firmed by a ju­di­cial in­quest.

Yes­ter­day, though, Judge Billy Mothle turned his­tory on its head by rul­ing that Ti­mol had been tor­tured and mur­dered. He also rec­om­mended that some of the po­lice per­son­nel who are still alive should be in­ves­ti­gated and pos­si­bly charged for var­i­ous of­fences.

The judg­ment will not bring Ti­mol back, but it will bring clo­sure to his fam­ily and friends. But, more im­por­tantly, it will con­firm the bru­tal­ity of the apartheid regime and un­der­line why the sys­tem was de­clared a crime against hu­man­ity.

Ti­mol, there­fore, died a hero. He gave his life so that this coun­try would be a bet­ter place. His sac­ri­fice is a timely re­minder of the other, of­ten un­sung, he­roes of the strug­gle.

They died for democ­racy, for equal­ity and for free­dom. Let us not for­get those lofty ideals.

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