Ahmed Timol was the 22nd political detainee to die in detention in South 
Africa after 1960. 
 File photo: www.ahmedtimol.co.za

With this year marking 48 years since Ahmed Timol, a teacher and member of the SA Communist Party (SACP), who was tortured to death by apartheid security police at the notorious John Vorster Police Station in Johannesburg, an exhibition will be held in his honour. 

The exhibition, his nephew, Imtiaz Cajee, said it would not only focus on the man who was tortured to death in October 1971, but it will also highlight the plight of the many other freedom fighters who stood up against the apartheid government and got killed and their matters are not given the prosecution attention they deserve.  

He added that the exhibition will also ensure that the legacy of Timol remains in the minds of the democratic South Africa and his sacrifices, like that of many others, is not forgotten. 

“As a painful reflection of many many other activists who was brutally murdered… there is no justice for them and they are not yet remembered, there is no anniversary, there is no commemoration, there is no tribute paid to many many other activists throughout the length and breath of this country,” Cajee said. 

Cajee said the exhibition would launched on October 22 and run until November 31, 2019 at the Freedom Park in Pretoria and it will include a dialogue session where the matter of Timol and the unfinished business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) will be discussed. 

He said while was good that some of those who were killed outside the borders of the country like Patrick Mvundla were being brought back, it was worrying that the truth is yet to be known. 

“But we still don’t know who is responsible for murdering them and who had given the instruction from the highest office for them to execute the operations outside the borders of the country,” he noted with concern.

Mvundla was brought back from Botswana last week and was reburied in Gauteng.

According to Cajee, Timol was detained at a “routine” police roadblock on the evening of 22 October 1971. Four days and 18 hours later, police claimed that he had jumped to his death from room 1026 of John Vorster Square Police Station (now known as Johannesburg Central Police Station), thus committing suicide. 

A sham 1972 inquest held by the apartheid government ruled that Timol, the 22nd detainee to have died in police detention, committed suicide and that nobody was to be blamed for his death.

In 2017, the inquest was re-opened and Judge Billy Mothle ruled that Timol did not commit suicide, but was murdered in police detention. As result of that, retired cop Joao Rodrigues, 81, who is accused of the murder of will go on trial in December. 

Rodrigues whose legal bill is being footed by the state as he allegedly committed the crime with two other officers who are yet to be charged, tried to use his advance age to avoid prosecution by his application was turned down by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg in June this year. 

Political Bureau