Former apartheid security branch policeman Joao Roderigues took all the horrible secrets he committed under the evil regime to his grave.
Roderigues was the last person alive with first-hand knowledge of the circumstances that led to the death of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol nearly 50 years ago.
The former apartheid security branch cop died Monday night, putting paid to any hopes of finding out the circumstances leading to the death of Timol.
Commenting on the matter Brett Herron, GOOD Secretary-General, said: “Our country and the Timol family have lost the opportunity for accountability and justice”.
Roderigues was on trial for murder at the time of his death, four years after Timol’s inquest was re-opened and the suicide finding altered to murder.
“But he wasn’t really on trial, yet; he was engaged in rolling out a strategy of endless delays and referrals in a bid for a permanent stay of prosecution,” said Herron.
Other security policemen said to have been responsible for Timol’s death have already died.
Roderigues’ death will come as a bitter blow to the Timol family and to the families of other victims of apartheid security force brutality, said Herron.
He said these families have been denied justice despite the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommending some 300 serious cases for investigation and prosecution.
These families, who continue to seek justice even as the killers of their loved ones die of old age around them, include that of former Cape Town cleric, Imam Abdullah Haron, who was murdered 52 years ago this month, and those of the Cradock Four, killed 36 years ago.
The lack of prosecutions gives truth to former President FW De Klerk’s claim a few months ago that there was a secret agreement not to prosecute apartheid-era killers.
“South Africa has an unacceptably high crime rate,” lamented Herron.
“The idea that known killers walk around free due to the shadowy political settlement alluded to by De Klerk, adds another sick note to the culture of impunity for the law so graphically underlined by the Zuma administration.”