Joao Rodrigues, the apartheid policeman implicated in the murder of slain activist Ahmed Timol, is seen in the dock before proceedings at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court, July 30 2018. Picture: ALON SKUY
Joao Rodrigues, the apartheid policeman implicated in the murder of slain activist Ahmed Timol, is seen in the dock before proceedings at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court, July 30 2018. Picture: ALON SKUY

The case of former security branch policeman João “Jan” Rodrigues‚ implicated in the murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol in 1971‚ has been postponed until October 22.

The high court in Johannesburg was due on Monday to ensure that the case was ready for trial.

But while the state was replying to an application by Rodrigues for a permanent stay of prosecution‚ Rodrigues’ lawyers indicated that they also wanted to bring a case for further and better particulars related to the charges he was facing.

Judge Ramarumo Monama said on Monday that it was unlikely that the trial would be heard this term.

“We will know next Monday when this trial should be heard. It does not have to enjoy preference over other matters‚” said Monama.

Monama said whatever application Rodrigues intended to bring to court‚ should be exhaustive and include all the grounds he was relying on.

“Whatever application the accused intends to bring must be brought on or before Friday, October 19 2018‚” Monama said.

The judge said he would not allow piecemeal litigation devised to delay the trial.

The charging of Rodrigues follows the reopened inquest last year into the death of Timol. Timol fell from the 10th floor of the John Vorster Square police station in Johannesburg.

The original inquest in 1972 concluded that Timol had committed suicide and no person alive was responsible for his death.

However‚ his family obtained further evidence and approached the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for the inquest to be reopened.

In the reopened inquest last year‚ Judge Billy Mothle found that Timol’s death was caused by him being pushed from the 10th floor of the then John Vorster Square building.

Mothle said Rodrigues‚ according to his own version‚ had participated in the cover-up to conceal the crime of murder as an accessory after the fact.

Mothle said Rodrigues went on to commit perjury by presenting contradictory evidence before the 1972 and 2017 inquests.

“He should accordingly be investigated with a view to his prosecution‚” Mothle said

Timol’s nephew‚ Imtiaz Cajee‚ said after the postponement on Monday that he was glad that Monama had given Rodrigues’ legal team a timeframe to submit their papers by this coming Friday as the judge wanted to hear their application next Monday.

“Ironically it was on October 22 1971 that my uncle was actually detained‚” Cajee said.

Cajee said the family was praying that court proceedings would finally commence.

Cajee said these delays were very frustrating because Rodrigues was already 79 years old.

“We cannot forget that a year has passed since Judge Billy Mothle made his ruling on October 12 2017. We are still waiting for court proceedings to commence‚” Cajee said.

NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the trial must be dealt with as speedily as possible.

“The family needs closure and the postponements are unnecessary‚” Mjonondwane said.

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