South Africa : Ex apartheid cop accused of the murder of Ahmed Timol granted bail

Joao Rodrigues served in the security branch of the apartheid regime and was guarding Ahmed Timol when he plunged to his death. © RR

Johannesburg (ADV) – The apartheid policeman implicated in the murder of the slain activist Joao Rodrigues‚ appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday where he was granted R2000 bail.

Rodrigues‚ 80‚ gave evidence in 2017 at the reopened inquest into Timol’s death. The inquest‚ at the South Gauteng High Court‚ replaced a 1972 court finding attributing the death to suicide and replaced it with murder.

Rodrigues was a member of the security branch and the last known person to have seen Timol alive before the 29-year-old activist “fell to his death”‚ according to the official report‚ from a 10th floor window at John Vorster Square (now known as Johannesburg Central Police Station) in 1971.

Rodrigues handed himself over to police on Sunday.

Imtiaz Cajee‚ Timol’s nephew‚ said of Rodrigues’s arrest: “One is filled with mixed emotions that more than four decades later I witnessed him handing himself over and having his first court appearance.”

Cajee expressed gratitude to the director or public prosecutions for charging Rodrigues. “It’s been a long journey and we accepted fate that nothing would happen. [But in] nine months we’ve managed to overturn the outcome of [the death report via] the inquiry.

“We are happy that we will be able to get to the heart of the matter. It’s important for people like Rodriguez to disclose what happened as opposed to the inquests.

“The Timol matter is one of many. My heart goes out to Thembelihle Simelane’s family for the Cradock four assassination‚” said Cajee.

Rodrigues is expected back in court on 18 September 2018.

© Bur-csa – Nomsa Mdhluli – ADV