Joao Rodrigues to appear in court but Ahmed Timol’s nephew to sit this one out
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Pretoria - When apartheid-era police officer Joao Rodrigues makes his 19th court appearance today in the murder trial of anti apartheid activist Ahmed Timol nearly 50 years ago, Imtiaz Cajee, Timol’s nephew, said he would sit this one out as he was still recovering from Covid-19.
Cajee, who with several other family members, lost loved ones during the apartheid era, has attended most of the court appearances of the man accused of having had a hand in his uncle’s death.
Cajee warned that Covid-19 infections were real and potentially deadly, and called on people to act immediately when they display signs of not feeling well.
He told the Pretoria News yesterday that since December last year, he had been having the “normal” sore throat and sinus allergies that have a history across generations in the family.
This was normal with the summer season with pollen in the air and hay fever symptoms.
“Following up with my general practitioner and also an ear, nose and throat specialist, I was given the all clear.
“I had also undergone two Covid tests and results were both negative.
“My condition dramatically escalated from the week of May 17, and compounded with feeling weak and cold. Due to quick-thinking of family members who detected in my voice that I was not well, they arranged for me to see a medical doctor in Azaadville, Mogale City.”
Cajee said his family were also concerned about his deteriorating health as he lives alone in Pretoria.
“Earlier that morning I had undergone another Covid test and was awaiting my results.
“The medical doctor diagnosed me immediately as having contracted Covid pneumonia. I was booked into a clinic in Roodepoort and was discharged on July 1.
“During my stay of 11 days, I heard anecdotes from nurses that I did not want to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit as the success rate of patients recovering and leaving ICU was not great.
“A cousin that was in the same clinic with me was in ICU, and he passed away a few days before my release.”
Cajee said with family support, he was slowly regaining his strength and taking it a day at a time.
“Unlike recovering from a flu, post-Covid complications make recovery complex. It is a slow process of getting the mental and physical components of the body to synchronise.
“I was fortunate that I was diagnosed and admitted before the latest wave swept across Gauteng.
“The shortage of beds in hospitals and clinics, compounded by overworked medical staff, does not bode well for Covid patients.”
Cajee said this is all the more reason to have the Covid vaccine and to continue wearing masks, sanitising and social distancing. This is also one of the main reasons why he will not be in the Johannesburg High Court today when Rodrigues makes another appearance.