In South Africa, a former apartheid policeman João Rodrigues died at the age of 82 on Tuesday 7 September. He was the only suspect still alive in the investigation into the murder of Ahmed Timol, a communist teacher who took part in the fight against apartheid and his trial never really opened. This revives the debate about the extreme slowness of justice in dealing with the crimes of this time.
as reported from Johannesburg, Claire Bargelès
Justice was recognized, 2017, that Ahmed Timol, a 29-year-old anti-apartheid activist, never “jumped” from the tenth floor of the Johannesburg police station in 1971, as the official version presented it, but was really pressured. And in his findings, Judge Billy Mothle advocated prosecution of João Rodrigues, the last police officer to see the young man alive, in his cell.
However, the procedure dragged on, following various appeals procedures, and João Rodrigues was finally never tried before his death, which comes after several months of illness.
Political blockages For Ahmed Timol’s nephew, the death of this former policeman brings much bitterness and anger, in the face of the South African prosecutor’s inability to handle this case effectively for fifty years.
Other families of apartheid victims are still waiting for their cases to be assessed, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in its report. But many blockades, especially political ones, will have slowed down procedures.
However, in June last year, the South African prosecution promised to speed up the processing of similar cases by setting up a special unit.