We pushed Timol, social worker told
WE PUSHED Ahmed Timol and that is what is going to happen to you. This is what a social worker detained in the 1980s at the notorious John Vorster Square claims she was told by her interrogator more than a decade after Timol had plunged to his death.
Monica Dube did not take the stand to testify during the reopened inquest into Timol’s death in police detention in 1971, but an affidavit made by her was handed to the high court in Pretoria yesterday.
In it, Dube recalled being arrested in June or July 1984, and detained at John Vorster Square for a few days. She was not politically active. However, she was questioned as she had accompanied her politically active friends to Botswana.
She said a “big and strong” security police officer gave her a “terrible look” a few days into her detention, and asked her why she would not co-operate with them.
“He lifted me up, almost totally off my feet, and said ‘do you think Timol jumped or was pushed?’ I was dead frightened and said I think he jumped. He said ‘No, we pushed him and that is going to happen to you.’”
Meanwhile, Timol’s time of death remains a mystery, with the security police maintaining it was late afternoon, while two witnesses are adamant that it was mid-morning.
A pathologist recalled to the witness stand to unravel the mystery was unable to say whether it was morning or afternoon.
Dr Steve Naidoo said it was equally possible that Timol could have plunged to his death mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
Abdulla Adam, who was working at the petrol station across the road from John Vorster Square on September 27, 1971, was adamant that it happened around 10am that day.
“I am certain of the time, because 10am was tea time. Tea time was very important to me,” he told the court.
Adam, now 70, was called to the stand to shed more light on the time Timol plunged to his death.
Another witness who was filling his car with petrol at the time also placed the time of the fall during mid-morning.
Adam testified that he was called by his boss at the time to go and check what had happened as there was a commotion across the road.
He and others who went to the scene were chased away by the security police, but he did get a glimpse of a body lying in the shrubs. The body faced upwards and was about 2m from the building.
Naidoo said the report issued by the doctor who had declared Timol dead was inadequate. The doctor saw the body late in the afternoon on the day of the fall, and he was not clear on the time of death. He simply noted that the man had “recently died”.
This could have meant that the time of death was between half an hour to 24 hours of the actual death, as rigor mortis had not yet set in, Naidoo said.