AS IT HAPPENED: Apartheid era cop 'pressured to write something which was not true'

2017-07-31 09:48

Apartheid-era police officer Jan Rodrigues has told the High Court that he tried to save anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol before he allegedly committed suicide at John Vorster Square in 1971, but Timol was too fast.

News24 journalist Amanda Khoza has reported from the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. 

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Last Updated at 05:53
31 Jul 15:52
Court adjourns until Tuesday 10:00.

31 Jul 15:50
Mothle asks Rodrigues to look at the findings made then and check whether he agrees.

31 Jul 15:49
Rodrigues says he cannot recall whether he told the initial inquest about this particular information.

31 Jul 15:48
With no prospects of a promotion, Rodrigues resigned. "They wanted me to protect their image. This is what I perceived." 

31 Jul 15:46

31 Jul 15:43
Rodrigues says there was a serious confrontation because he did not want to lie in his statement.

31 Jul 15:42
Rodrigues says he never touched Timol. "I was not prepared to write down what they wanted me to write in my statement"

31 Jul 15:41
"What I can recall is that general Byl wanted me to writ that there was a fight between me and Timol."

31 Jul 15:40
Rodrigues says various police officers forced him to add elements that were not true in his statement. He says among the officers were Gloy and Van Niekerk.

31 Jul 15:39
"After I made my statement, some of the officer pressured me to write something which was not true."

31 Jul 15:39
Rodrigues says he did not see any injuries on Timols body. He was fully clothed.

31 Jul 15:38
Rodrigues: I never had any contact with the detainees or the suspects. "All I knew about assaults was what I read."

31 Jul 15:37

31 Jul 15:33
Rodrigues confirms that he was a witness during the initial inquest. "I was never charged. No disciplinary action."

31 Jul 15:33
Rodrigues says he made a statement but he cannot recall how long it was. The statement was made that day.

31 Jul 15:33

31 Jul 15:31
"I was interrogated by several police officers. One at a time or two. They wanted to know what happened."

31 Jul 15:30
Rodrigues says after the body was removed, he had no further involvement in the matter.

31 Jul 15:30
Rodrigues says he think this was done to take the body away from the public as soon as possible. Rodrigues says he was a junior at the scene so he did not participate in the moving of the body.

31 Jul 15:29
Someone brought a blanket, rolled the body and then taken to a room on the ground floor.

31 Jul 15:28
The two people that felt the pulse said there was still a slight heart beat."

31 Jul 15:28
Rodrigues says there were other police officers surrounding Timol's body. "The only peple I knew were Gloy, V Niekerk"

31 Jul 15:28
He went with his colleagues to the ground floor to where the body was lying. "There were people there."

31 Jul 15:28
Rodrigues says everyone came out of their offices and ran towards him. "We went back to the office, to the window."

31 Jul 15:27
"I then ran out of the office and screamed, 'Timol jumped.' There was no one in the passage."

31 Jul 15:27
Rodrigues says a police photographer took the picture. "It might have been on another day, I cannot remember."

31 Jul 15:23
Mothle asks Rodrigues when the photograph was taken. "On the same day," says Rodrigues. 

31 Jul 15:22
Rodrigues says he saw Timol moving from the corner of his right eye. He was busy pushing the chair into the table. 

31 Jul 15:22

31 Jul 15:22
"We never spoke to each other. I tried my best but he moved so fast."

31 Jul 15:21
Rodrigues says it all happened so fast that he could not see whether Timol was limping or not.

31 Jul 15:21
Rodrigues says Van Niekerk was sitting on chair C while Timol sat on chair B. He sat on chair A when the two men left.

31 Jul 15:21

31 Jul 15:17
"When I jumped up I realised Timol was not there anymore. I got up, looked through the window, saw a body"

31 Jul 15:17
"I saw him dive through the window and I fell on to the ground with my body."

31 Jul 15:17
"I went for the chair and lost my balance and fell. On my way to Timol, I saw how he opened the window."

31 Jul 15:15
"I went to the other side of the table quickly, I wanted to stop him but my chair was in the way."

31 Jul 15:15
"I had to decide whether to follow him. The court must understand that this happened in a split second."

31 Jul 15:14
"I looked up quickly and saw Timol moving on the other side of the table very fast. In a split second."

31 Jul 15:14
"He also got up, I went to the left side of the table. The table where van Niekerk was moved a little. I pushed the chair back into the table, my eyes on the chair. Same moment, I saw a movement on the right"

31 Jul 15:12
"Few minutes later he asked me to take him to the toilet. It was a reasonable request. I got up."

31 Jul 15:12

"Gloy and van Niekerk left the room, I did not know where to. Timol stared at me."  

Rodrigues says Timol stared to one side, not at him. "He stared of one side of where he was. We never spoke."

31 Jul 15:11
Rodrigues says the two men left the room. "I sat where Gloy sat, opposite Timol. The two left the room."

31 Jul 15:11
"Gloy asked Van Niekerk asked to go outside, Gloy asked me to guard Timol. I didn't have a firearm."

31 Jul 15:10
Rodrigues: "Timol was in a state of shock, eyes were big and he was shaking his head. He looked at the three of us."

31 Jul 15:08
"Whilst in there someone entered... I did not know this person." Rodrigues says the person that announced how many were arrested left the room again.

31 Jul 15:07
Rodrigues: "I was standing next to him and I could see his face from the side. They were drinking coffee. Gloy opened the envelope and started to read and I wanted to leave and he said I should stay."

31 Jul 15:06
Rodrigues says no interrogation took place in his presence. It was later revealed that the man was Timol.

31 Jul 15:05
"When I entered the office, it was calm, no interrogation taking place. I placed the coffee on the table. I gave the envelope and cheque to Gloy and van Niekerk. The three began to drink the coffee, I stood on the right of this person."

31 Jul 15:05
Rodrigues Mr van Niekerk was sitting on the left. On the front of Gloy there was another man.

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