Former apartheid police officer Joao Rodrigues. File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA).

JOHANNESBURG - Retired cop Joao Rodrigues, 81, who is accused of the murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol, will go on trial in December.

The South High court on Wednesday said Rodrigues, will finally be in the dock for the murder, which happened four decades ago.

Timol, 29, was arrested in Johannesburg in October 1971 and died five days later. Rodrigues was the last person who saw him alive. 

The accused, whose bid to have the matter quashed has failed, testified in the 1972 inquest which ruled that Timol committed suicide by jumping to his death from the 10th floor of the John Voster Square building in Johannesburg. 

The building has since been renamed as Johannesburg Central Police Station.

However, after a long campaign by Timol's family, the inquest verdict was overturned by a court in October 2017. Judge Billy Mothle ruled that Timol did not commit suicide.

The court found that the anti-apartheid activist was murdered. 

On Wednesday the court announced that Rodrigues will go on trial for Timol's murder before Christmas, on 12 December 2019.

African News Agency (ANA)