Timol was ‘pushed to his death’
Matthews Mabelane’s family live in hope the truth will out after the death in detention of their loved one
THE judgment in the inquiry into apartheid activist Ahmed Timol’s death has opened old wounds but also created hope for the family of Matthews Mabelane who died in detention in 1977.
Yesterday, upon hearing judge Billy Mothle confirm that police had lied about Timol committing suicide and in fact he had been murdered by the police, the family said it believed the same thing happened to Mabalane.
His younger brother, Lasch Mabelane, said they still needed answers about his death.
He said his brother was detained after taking part in the 1976 Soweto uprisings, only for police to later inform the family that he had committed suicide.
“We are delighted with the judgment. It gives us hope to find answers about how my brother died.
“It’s very difficult for us to believe that he took his own life. He loved life,” Lasch said.
Timol died in October 1971 while in police custody a few days after his arrest. An inquest was held in 1972 and the magistrate ruled that it was suicide, saying that no one could be held accountable for his death.
Judge Mothle however found yesterday Timol did not jump out of the 10th floor window of John Vorster police station, but was pushed.
“Timol did not meet his death because he committed suicide.
“Timol died as a result of having been pushed to fall, an act which was committed by members of the security branch with dolus eventualis as the form of intent and prima facie amounting to murder,” Mothle ruled.
The judge said that Timol was pushed during interrogation as the police were trying to extract information from him. He also said that there was not enough evidence to prove that the police intentionally wanted to kill Timol.
The judge rejected claims by the security branch members that Timol was not assaulted.
Mothle recommended that former security branch officer Joao Rodrigues should be investigated and prosecuted for giving contradictory evidence and lying under oath.
Rodrigues testified during the initial inquest in 1972 and to the reopened inquest this year.
“Rodrigues, in his own version, participated in the cover up to conceal the crime of murder as an accessory after the fact of that murder and went on to commit perjury by presenting contradictory evidence before the 1972 and 2017 inquests,” the judge ruled.
Reacting to the judgment, Timol’s nephew Imtiaz Cajee said the judgment had vindicated the family.
“We never believed that uncle Timol committed suicide.
“We always maintained that he was murdered. This judgment reaffirmed our view.
Nkosinathi Biko from the Steve Biko Foundation described the judgment as a victory to all the families whose relatives were killed in detention under apartheid.
“The fact that there were no prosecutions arose from a lack of political will.
“The National Prosecuting Authority should rethink some of its decisions,” Biko said.
Biko’s father, Steve Biko, was brutally killed in detention by security branch members.
VINDICATED: Mohamed, younger brother of Ahmed Timol, holds up the book written by his nephew Imtiaz Cajee ahead of the judgment of the Timol inquest at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday.