'I am glad I got my closure' - Daughter of apartheid-era policeman Joao Rodrigues

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Former security branch police officer Joao Rodrigues.
Former security branch police officer Joao Rodrigues.
Felix Dlangamandla/Gallo Images/Netwerk24
  • Joao "Jan" Rodrigues, a former member of apartheid's feared Security Branch, died on Monday evening. 
  • Rodrigues died after an illness, his lawyer said.
  • The former apartheid-era cop previously faced allegations of sexually violating his daughter.  

Tilana Stander, the daughter of apartheid-era police officer Joao "Jan" Rodrigues, says she had not been in contact with him and only heard about his death through a cousin.

Stander had previously spoken out about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father.

Rodrigues died on Monday evening after battling an illness, News24 reported. 

He was charged with the murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol.

Speaking to eNCA on Wednesday in reaction to her father's death, Stander said she had spoken out against Rodrigues to get him to acknowledge the abuse he inflicted on her during her childhood.

"And thankfully, he did. He acknowledged everything that I put in my affidavit and I am just glad that I could get this over and done with. I am not dwelling on the past anymore." 

She added her father verbally, physically and sexually abused her.

Stander said: 
Through the mediation, he asked for his forgiveness, and said he was ashamed of what he did and I accepted that.

She described her father as "strict and stubborn" at home. 

News24 previously reported Timol was arrested in 1971 and that police officers at the time, including Rodrigues, said the young teacher and activist from Roodepoort threw himself out of a window on the 10th floor of John Vorster Square, now Johannesburg Central police station. 

But the activist's family refused to believe the turn of events, resulting in the National Prosecuting Authority holding another inquest in 2017 where the 1972 finding that he died by suicide was overturned. 

READ | Daughter of apartheid cop accused of Timol's murder speaks out

An email to the Ahmed Timol Foundation by Stander resulted in Rodrigues being traced to answer questions about the fateful day on 22 October 1971. 

Stander said she wanted the families who were affected by her father's doings to get closure. 

She added speaking out against her dad had affected her relationship with her family. 

Stander said:

I have currently no contact with them for quite a while now. I heard about his death through my cousin. I don't know, they probably upset with me because I am speaking out.

Alternative dispute resolution

She added her family had protected Rodrigues throughout because they were close to him. 

"But I am just glad that I got my closure now and I can move forward now." 

Rodrigues' lawyer, Ben Minnaar, told News24 on Wednesday another criminal case in which Stander was the complainant against her father was settled by way of an alternative dispute resolution process.

He said following the process, Stander withdrew the case after it was settled out of court. 

"I don't know what happened between him and his daughter. I just know that I was involved in the matter, in the sense that I assisted him. I was his attorney as well in that matter. We did representations and an apology was sent to her and she accepted the apology, and the matter was withdrawn," Minnaar added. 

We want to hear your views on the news. Subscribe to News24 to be part of the conversation in the comments section of this article. 
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1453 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 8025 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1661 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.