Former apartheid police officer Joao Rodrigues at the South Gauteng high court. The high court granted permission to the family of Ahmed Timol to join the fight against Rodrigues’ application for a stay of prosecution. File photo: Brenda Masilela/ANA

Pretoria - The South Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, granted permission to the family of Ahmed Timol to join the fight against his alleged killer, Joao Rodrigues’ application for a stay of prosecution.

Judge Ramarumi Monana, however, turned down the application by the family of Dr Hoosen Haffejee, who wanted to be admitted as an intervening party.

The judge expressed his concern that there was no finding that Rodrigues was involved in the killing of Haffejee.

The family of another allegedly murdered anti apartheid activist, Mathews Mabelane, will meanwhile side alongside the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in its opposition to Rodrigues’ application for a stay of prosecution.

The Timol family, as well as that of Haffejee and Mabelane, voiced their fear that if Rodrigues’ application was successful, all the other families of apartheid era victims would be deprived from knowing the truth as to what happened to their loved ones.

Former security policeman Roderiques has appeared in July this year in the high court regarding the murder of Timol in the early 70’s.

The 80-year-old, however, wants the charges dropped as he claimed his prosecution was unfair due to the delay of more than 47 years in charging him.

During the historical re-opening of the Timol inquest last year, Judge Billy Mothle ruled that Timol was murdered and recommended to the NPA that the role of Rodrigues into the death of Tim be investigated.

The judge also ruled at the time that former security branch officers Neville Els and Seth Sons be charged for perjury. 

Timol’s nephew, Imtiaz Cajee, who was instrumental in the reopening of his uncle’s inquest, said more than a year later, investigations continue and a decision is yet to be made if Sons and Els will be charged.

Cajee on Wednesday said while they are happy that the Timol family was allowed to join the fight against Rodrigues’ application, they were concerned that his application would further delay his criminal trial.

He also expressed his concerns that the NPA did not investigate Timol’s death much earlier, as requested. 

“I have written a letter to the NPA in 2002 to investigate the matter. Why did they wait until now? They provide no answers for this in their court papers and it is worrisome.”

Cajee said if the matter was investigated earlier, former security officers who were involved, would have still been alive to provide answers. As things stand, neither Sons or Els - who are the last to still be alive - have not been prosecuted.

The court ruled last year that Timol did not commit suicide, but that he was murdered in October 1971, when he was pushed out of the window and  plunged to his death from John Vorster Square. Haffejee and Mabelane died under similar circumstances.

Rodrigues is expected back in court on January 28, but its not yet known when his application will be heard.

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