Ekurhuleni – The matter of former apartheid police officer Joao Rodrigues – implicated in the death of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol – was again postponed after the state’s instructing attorney and counsel for the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) failed to appear in court on Monday.
Rodrigues made a brief appearance in the South High Court, sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court in Ekurhuleni.
Judge Ramarumo Monama, who was visibly upset, lashed out at the state attorneys’ absence.
Monama said the State attorneys had not bothered to let him know they would not be present.
"This is unacceptable," he said.
He ordered that all parties involved need to have their written arguments completed by February 18 to ensure that the matter was heard on March 28.
"One would hope by that time….we shall receive the full co-operation of the state attorney as far as possible," Monama said.
Rodrigues, 80, has asked for a permanent halt of prosecution citing this age and saying he would be prejudiced in a trial where many witnesses have died.
Rodrigues is the last person who saw Timol alive. His testimony was the driving force in the 1972 inquest which ruled that Timol committed suicide by jumping to his death from the 10th floor of the John Vorster Square building in Johannesburg.
The verdict was overturned by Judge Billy Mothle in October 2017 after a long campaign by Timol’s family.
Timol, 29, was arrested in Johannesburg in October 1971 and died five days later.
African News Agency (ANA)