Some details remain hidden but official record books have been set straight
Today we commemorate the day, 46 years ago, that apartheid security police stopped assaulting our beloved brother and uncle, Ahmed Timol, and either pushed him out of the 10th floor window or off the roof of John Vorster Square Police Station.
We don’t know whether he was alive when he fell, or what time of day it was. The evidence of the only living “eyewitness”, former Sergeant Joao Rodrigues, who claimed to have been alone in the room when Timol committed suicide, was dismissed as a pack of lies by Judge Billy Mothle who presided over the recently concluded re-opened inquest.
We don’t know if Rodrigues was in the room at all, or whether he may have been an active participant in the act of murder. He is an old man now, and we greatly regret that he did not take the opportunity – for himself and others – to finally come clean.
We have always known that Ahmed Timol was murdered. But for 45 years we have commemorated his murder in the shadow of the deception that he committed suicide… with the pain of apartheid magistrate JL De Villiers branding Timol’s grieving mother a liar at the sham inquest in 1972 ringing in our hearts.
Today, we all know who was lying.
Judge Billy Mothle overturned De Villiers’ verdict and found that Timol died at the hands of the police.
As we commemorate the 46th anniversary of his death we do so in gratitude for the abundance of messages of love and support received.
In particular, we acknowledge the motion moved by Mr X Mabasa MP in parliament (Motion Passed in Parliament – Mr Mabasa 24 October 2017 ) welcoming Judge Mothle’s finding and supporting our quest to put our experience to work to assist other families whose loss of loved ones has never been officially probed or acknowledged.
* Ahmed Timol was a teacher, a communist and active member of the underground anti-apartheid movement. He was arrested late on 22 October 1971 and died on 27 October. The re-opened inquest into his death heard evidence from forensic pathologists and a trajectory expert to the effect that Timol had been so badly assaulted prior to falling that he may have been unconscious, and that if he had dived through the window as police alleged, his body could not have landed where it did.
** The website www.sahistory.org.za lists the names of 73 anti-apartheid activists who died in detention between 1963 and 1990. Nobody has ever been held accountable for any of those deaths. Timol’s name is the 22nd name on the list is Ahmed Timol,
Distributed by Oryx Media.