The second inquest into anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol’s death at John Vorster Square in 1971 is set to continue in the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.
Timol’s death, on October 27, 1971, was ruled a suicide in 1972. However, a private investigation launched by Timol's family uncovered new evidence which it presented to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). The NPA agreed to the family’s request for the inquest to be re-opened.
The Roodepoort teacher's loved ones refuse to believe that he jumped from the 10th floor of John Vorster Square during an interrogation by security branch police. John Vorster Square is now called the Johannesburg Central police station.
On Monday, former security branch police Officer Paul Erasmus testified how the apartheid government gave police free reign to break the law “willy nilly” to prevent the liberation of the country.
He worked for the security branch for 17 years and told the court he was involved in the dirty tricks such as spreading fake news. He told the court how prosecutors and magistrates would collude with the security branch and discuss how cases would play out in court.
Timol’s brother Mohammed previously said: "For many years now, Ahmed’s memory has lived on, but the official records have text that Ahmed decided to commit suicide during interrogation while in detention in 1971, October 27."
The initial inquest into his brother’s death took place between April and June 1972, in an all-white court.
"The magistrate was white. The prosecutor was white. The security policemen were white. The system was white. We knew that we stood no chance to get the truth.
"The findings of the magistrate after many days of inquest hearings, which my parents and I attended every day, we could see through the farce. It was actually a farce, the inquest."
Stephanie Kemp, 76, an SAPC and ANC member, told the inquest on Monday that Timol was the 22nd person to die in detention since 1963 without a trial having started. Most were said to have committed suicide.