Former apartheid era police officer Joao Rodrigues believes he will not receive a fair trial should he be prosecuted for the premeditated murder of political activist, Ahmed Timol.
Rodrigues has approached the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to challenge the High Court order which dismissed his application not to be prosecuted for the death of Timol in October 1971.
He has also accused the Ministers of Justice and Police of deliberately withholding important facts relating to the lengthy delay and serious political interference in such prosecutions.
Rodrigues insists that he was neither involved in the arrest nor in the subsequent investigation of the case against Timol.
In papers before the SCA, Rodrigues argues that the Ministers of Justice and Police were probably aware that he was also granted the presidential amnesty.
He says that Justice Minister Ronald Lamola was bound by that decision not to prosecute him and other perpetrators.
Rodrigues adds that circumstances relating to Timol’s death were officially investigated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1996.
Rodrigues, who is 81, says he suffers from a serious fading memory, and that he would be prejudiced should he be prosecuted for an incident that happened 49 years ago.
The first inquest in 1972 found that Ahmed Timol committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of the then notorious John Vorster Square following his arrest at a roadblock.
NPA welcomes permanent stay of prosecution dismissal
In June last year, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomed the High Court ruling against the dismissal of Rodrigues’ permanent stay of prosecution for Timol’s murder.
NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw said it was in the interest of justice for those who may have been linked to Timol’s murder to be held accountable to the law.
Timol’s family also expressed satisfaction with the ruling.
The nephew of the anti-apartheid activist said the ruling signalled a sense of justice not only for Timol, but for all other activists who died at the hands of police:
In the related video below, Rodrigues was in 2018 charged with Timol’s premeditated murder and defeating the ends of justice:
-Additional reporting by Sashin Naidoo.