NPA Must Prosecute Apartheid-era Crimes, Urges TRC Commissioner

6/3/2019

Many of the alleged perpetrators of apartheid-era crimes are dying, which means speedy prosecuting of those crimes is vital for families to find justice. This was the view of former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) commissioner Yasmin Sooka outside the high court in Johannesburg on Monday.

Sooka was speaking after a full bench of the high court dismissed the application by former security policeman Joao Rodrigues for a permanent stay of prosecution. It was a decision Sooka described as being not about revenge but rather about justice and accountability.

Rodrigues made the application after being charged with the murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol in July last year. Timol died in 1971 after falling from the 10th floor of the then John Vorster Square police station in central Johannesburg, where he had been detained.

Sooka said when the TRC finished its work, it referred about 300 cases to the National Prosecuting Authority in 1999 for further investigation. These cases involved people who were not granted amnesty or did not apply to amnesty. "This is a race against time. For many families, this is not just a 20-year wait. This has been going on for the past 40 years," said Sooka, adding that those families needed to know that the state would proceed with these cases without fear and do the utmost to deal with them as quickly as possible.

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