Apartheid security cop at Ahmed Timol inquest claims little recollection

Former security policeman who saw anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol while he was in jail before he died testified on Monday morning in the Tshwane High Court.

The court is hearing the inquest into the death of Timol after the apartheid regime claimed he had committed suicide by jumping from the tenth floor of the John Vorster Square Police Station in 1971.

EWN senior reporter, Barry Bateman is at the hearing and contextualises what was happening at the time.

The SACP and the ANC were involved in a pamphlet distribution campaign. This involved the so called bucket bombs which were relatively harmless explosive devices in buckets which would explode and distribute propaganda pamphlets into the streets which people could collect.

Barry Bateman, EWN senior reporter

It was believed that Timol was involved in that particular campaign when he was stopped in a vehicle he was driving and these pamphlets were found on him, explains Bateman.

Also read: Timol sustained injuries inconsistent with a high fall

Bateman reports that former security policeman, Neville Els was an explosives expert at the time and was called in to identify these pamphlets, and Els explained this was his role in the Timol matter.

The question is now being turned to, what was it like at John Vorster police station.

Barry Bateman, EWN senior reporter

Bateman explains that Els told the court that he had a nice office on the ninth floor and would occasionally see detainees.

A lot of what he's responded here is "I don't recall".

Barry Bateman, EWN senior reporter

Bateman goes on to say the eighty-three-year old says he has no recollection of assault at the police station and he personally did not engage in any torture. Els could face criminal charges if he was found to have any involvement in Timol's death.

According to Bateman when Timol was arrested, he was considered 'a big fish' by the apartheid police.

Bateman adds that the more important witness in the inquest is Sergeant Joao Rodriguez, the man who claimed he was in that office before Timol allegedly jumped out of the window and to his death.

Listen to the EWN report here:

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