Call to probe failure to prosecute apartheid cases
Politics / 29 January 2019, 08:35am / Bongani Nkosi
Johannesburg - Imtiaz Cajee, nephew of murdered anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol, has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to establish a judicial inquiry into the state’s failure to investigate and prosecute apartheid-era crimes.
A scathing Cajee said it was about time South Africa understood why the current regime had failed to bring to justice those who maimed and killed freedom fighters.
Cajee’s long-drawn-out fight for prosecution of police officers he believed were responsible for the death of his uncle at the then notorious John Vorster Square 46 years ago has shown results.
Judge Billy Mothle ruled in the North Gauteng High Court in 2017 that Timol was killed by members of the former security branch and did not commit suicide by jumping to his death from the 10th storey of the police station.
He recommended the prosecution of former apartheid cop Joao Roderiques, now 80, who was present when Timol died.
Roderiques, who is currently facing murder charges, made a brief appearance in the high court sitting in Palm Ridge on Monday.
The matter was postponed to March 28.
Roderiques has sought a permanent stay of prosecution, arguing he was now too old.
Speaking to journalists outside court, Cajee expressed frustration that hundreds of cases of deaths in detention and on secret farms, such as Vlakplaas, were not being prosecuted.
There were not even moves to bring the mostly ageing apartheid-era perpetrators to book.
Calling on Ramaphosa to institute a commission, Cajee said: “These matters have to be revisited. They’ve got to be relooked.”
He said the state should account for the snail’s pace in prosecuting alleged apartheid government killers.
“How many cases have they prosecuted since the TRC reports were handed over more than 20 years ago? We presented a case to the NPA in 2016; not only on Timol but also about Dr Neil Aggett, who also died in detention at John Vorster Square. What is the status of the investigation into the killing of Aggett?” Cajee asked.
Cases that still had not been prosecuted or pardoned included the Cradock Four, Gugulethu Seven, Matthew Mabelane, Nokuthula Simelane, Imam Haron and Suliman “Babla” Saloojee.
The National Prosecuting Authority in Gauteng has previously said it was looking into prosecuting a number of apartheid cases.
Cajee also decried that two other former cops should have been in the dock with Roderiques.
“Judge Mothle ruled that (former security branch officers) Neville Els and Seth Sons be charged for perjury. More than 15 months later, the investigations are still continuing,” said Cajee.