#TimolInquest: We want to know the truth, says Kodwa

2017-08-03 20:29
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa. (Elizabeth Sejake, City Press)

ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa. (Elizabeth Sejake, City Press)

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Johannesburg – The ANC’s national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said on Thursday he hoped the Ahmed Timol inquest would bring Timol's family and many others closure.

Timol’s death was ruled a suicide in 1972.

“We wanted to close a chapter into what happened. There are still many people buried out of South Africa and many families do not know what happened to their sons and daughters.

“This is the brutality of the apartheid police,” said Kodwa.

He was speaking during a tea break at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria where the inquest is sitting.

WATCH LIVE: Timol inquest, day 14

The security branch police had testified at the initial inquest that Timol committed suicide by jumping out of a window on the 10th floor of the John Vorster Building, now Johannesburg Central Police Station, on October 27, 1971.

Despite the ruling, the family has always believed that Timol was killed while in detention.

A fresh inquest was opened after the family said it had new evidence.  

An important reminder

Kodwa said the inquest was important because it was a reminder that people of different colours and creeds participated in the struggle against apartheid.

“That reminder is very important given the challenges we face today of racial discord. That non-racial character of the struggle is important not to forget.”

He said the inquest also sadly reminded South Africa of its painful past.

“It reminds us of the brutality of the apartheid government…We must never let this happen again.”

Kodwa said no legitimate government must do what was done to Timol.

“It was a crime against humanity. All people of colour and race stood up against the apartheid government, so it is important that we appreciate one another.”

He said South Africa’s non-racial character should remain the same despite the challenges the country was facing.

White domination vs black domination

“We must fight against racism and all other forms of exploitation of one man against the other. We never fought for white domination only to be replaced by black domination, that was not the struggle.”

Kodwa said the struggle was not about revenge. “The struggle was about fighting historical injustices. I think this inquest will allow us to establish the truth of what happened and then we can close the chapter.”

He added that the inquest was not about prosecuting individuals.

“We hope that those who come forward use the opportunity to tell the truth because this is but one of many men and women who lays buried, but whose family still want answers as to what happened.”

Closure for all

Kodwa said he hoped many families who participated in the struggle could find closure.

He said when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established, it was not to seek revenge.

In finding closure Kodwa said it was important to do everything within the law.

“Our democratic state must use its power to make sure that it closes the chapter of many other families like it has been done for the Timol family. They all want to know what happened.

“We cannot live and talk about prosperity and a non-racial South Africa and yet there are many South Africans who do not know what happened to their mothers and fathers.” 

The hearings continue on Friday. Some of the witnesses, including Samil Essop, who was arrested with Timol, are expected to attempt to identify some of the members of the security branch police, many of whom have since died. 

Read more on:    ronnie kasrils  |  ahmed timol  |  johannesburg

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