We pushed Ti­mol, so­cial worker told

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ZELDA VEN­TER

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.

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