Judge Billy Mothle, during the inquest into the death of Ahmed Timol, at Gauteng High Court, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Naude
Pretoria - In his book No one to Blame, advocate George Bizos concluded his chapter on Ahmed Timol by saying that “we can only hope that the conscience of at least some of them (the then security branch of the police) will lead them to reveal the truth, before they are buried like their victims”.

This hope may eventually be realised as several former security police officers have taken Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, Judge Billy Mothle up on his plea for anyone with information relating to the death of Timol, to come forward.

Dr Torie Pretorius, leading the team acting for the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), this week told the court that they had been contacted by various potential new witnesses, including former security police officers, who were keen on assisting the court.

Judge Mothle said his office was also contacted by former officers who had responded to his plea.

Pretorius and his team will work throughout the weekend to consult with these people to see whether they can contribute to the inquest.

He told the court that some of them were afraid to come forward, but he said it was important to listen to them.

If they take the stand next week, it will mean that second leg of the inquest relating to the hearing of evidence will be extended to Wednesday.

Evidence was due to conclude this week, but Judge Mothle said he would extend the hearing for a few days if it proved that hearing these witnesses, would be fruitful.

The magistrate who heard the inquest in 1972 concluded that no one was to blame and that Timol had indeed committed suicide. He accepted the evidence from the police that Timol was not assaulted prior to his death.

Timol’s younger brother Mohammed Timol and Bizos were the only two people who had attended that inquest and who are now in court, attending the second leg of the inquest after 45 years.

Mohammed said he truly believed that the truth would now emerge for the first time.

But there are still many questions, such as when exactly Timol plunges to his death; during the morning as claimed by two witnesses, or in the afternoon, as claimed by the police.

A pathologist who was recalled to the witness stand to unravel the mystery, was unable to say whether it was morning or afternoon.

Dr Steve Naidoo said it was equally possible that Timol could have plunged to his death mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

Abdulla Adam, now 70, who was working at the petrol station across the road from John Vorster Square in 1971, when Timol fell, was adamant that it happened around 10am that morning.

“I am certain of the time, because 10am was tea time.

"Tea time was very important to me,” he told the court..

Adam said his former boss actually witnessed the fall from his office, which looked out on John Vorster Square. But he has in the meantime passed away.

A previous witness who was filling his car with petrol at the time, also placed the time of the fall during mid-morning.

While the answers to many of these questions may have gone to the grave, the Timol family are pinning their hopes that this week might bring some answers and the closure they have hoped for over the past 46 years.

Pretoria News