A Call for Justice

After seventeen years of actively seeking justice for the murder of Ahmed Timol, the Timol family can perhaps eventually find some peace. They first bought the case to the attention of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in 2002, but the NPA failed to investigate the matter. Eventually though, in October 2017 the North Gauteng High Court officially recognised that Timol had been murdered by Security Branch police, ruling that Joao Rodrigues, the policeman present when Timol died, was an accomplice after the fact to murder.

Mohamed Timol, brother of late Ahmed Timol holds up a book by Imtiaz Cajee, nephew of Ahmed Timol

Mohamed Timol, brother of late Ahmed Timol holds up a book by Imtiaz Cajee, nephew of Ahmed Timol

Rodrigues, now 80 years old, has been arguing for a permanent stay of prosecution because of his age, but this week the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg dismissed Rodrigues’s application stating that his argument of age held no water, but that it would be a factor considered during the trial and sentencing.

The case of Ahmed Timol, along with countless others, is detailed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, published 21 years ago. At the time the commission found that:

The SAP, and in particular Colonel Greyling, Captian Bean, Sergeant Rodrigues, Warrant Officer Cloete, Sergeants FJ Ferreira, MC Pelser and DL Carter were directly responsible for the death of Mr Ahmed Timol”

Ismail Haffejee and Sarah Lall with a portrait of their youngest brother, Hoosen Mia Haffejee who died while in police custody; Others believed to have died at the hands of the state (clockwise from top left) are Neil Aggett, Matthews Mabelane, Caleb Mayekiso, Nicodemus Kgoathe and Nokuthula Simelane

Ismail Haffejee and Sarah Lall with a portrait of their youngest brother, Hoosen Mia Haffejee who died while in police custody; Others believed to have died at the hands of the state (clockwise from top left) are Neil Aggett, Matthews Mabelane, Caleb Mayekiso, Nicodemus Kgoathe and Nokuthula Simelane

And yet, despite the commission’s findings, nothing was done about the murder of Ahmed Timol for nearly two decades. This week’s ruling by the High Court has encouraged other relatives of victims of apartheid police brutality to come forward. Like Timol, many of these cases have already been investigated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), but with no further action having been taken.

According to Imtiaz Cajee, Timol’s nephew, who pursued his uncle’s case on behalf of the family, as many as 300 of the cases heard by the TRC should be prosecuted by the NPA. Cajee has called on the Minister of Justice to intervene and fast track all cases related to the TRC.

As we wait for a trial date to finally be set for the murder of Ahmed Timol, it will be interesting to see how many other victims of apartheid will finally get to see justice served.

Images courtesy of www.dailymaverick.co.za and mg.co.za. Cover image of Ahmed Timol with his mother, Hawa, courtesy of www.timeslive.co.za

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