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

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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. 


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