Timol: new time of death mooted
WAS the country fooled for 46 years into believing Ahmed Timol fell to his death in the late afternoon?
This was the question on everyone’s lips yesterday on the 14th day of the inquest into his death.
Startling new evidence emerged in the Pretoria High Court when a witness was adamant that Timol had plunged to his death around mid-morning and not late afternoon.
Businessman Muhammad Ali Thokan told Judge Billy Mothle he was at the petrol station across the road from John Vorster Square on the morning of September 27, 1971.
Thokan said he was locking his fuel cap when he suddenly heard a thump. He could not see anything, but a pedestrian who had walked down the street shouted that someone had fallen from the top of John Vorster Square.
Thokan said he tried to go and see if he could assist but halfway across the road, three plain-clothed policemen told him to “f*** off”.
He left before he saw the body. He did not at the time know it was Timol, but he later read about the incident in the newspapers.
Thokan was grilled about the time of day he was at the garage, when he heard the thump. He was adamant that it was mid-morning, although he did not know the exact time.
For the past 46 years, the police and even the doctor who pronounced Timol dead, put the time of death at shortly before 4pm.
Asked how he was so sure this incident happened in the morning, Thokan said he was on his way to a government department in Pretoria to obtain a trading licence and remembered the occasion well.
Indians were not at the time allowed to trade without a licence, and the day he went to apply for his was a memorable one, he said.
Asked why he had never revealed this before, Thokan said up to now, he had no idea that the time of death was in dispute.
IN SOLIDARITY: Ronnie Kasrils, left, with Ahmed Timol’s younger brother Mohammed Timol and Muhammad Ali Thokan during the inquest into the death of Ahmed in the high court in Pretoria.