Daughter of Timol-death cop Joao Rodrigues: 'My dad abused me as a child'

Joao Rodrigues, the apartheid-era policeman implicated in the murder of slain activist Ahmed Timol, now faces charges of abusing his daughter more than 40 years ago.
Joao Rodrigues, the apartheid-era policeman implicated in the murder of slain activist Ahmed Timol, now faces charges of abusing his daughter more than 40 years ago.
Image: ALON SKUY

Tilana Stander, the daughter of Joao Rodrigues, the apartheid era policeman accused of murdering political activist Ahmed Timol, says she wants her father prosecuted for abusing her.

Speaking to Radio 702 on Wednesday, Stander, who has opened a case of child abuse against Rodrigues, said she wanted her father to be prosecuted for sexually assaulting her more than 40 years ago.

“When I was subjected to the abuse, we as children were not allowed to speak out. I realised that no matter how far back this happened, he has to be prosecuted for what he did to me,” Stander said.

She said the abuse took place between 1972 and 1976.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Stander said she had been contemplating coming out about the abuse since 2007.

“I was, however, always afraid that nobody would believe me, felt ashamed and was under the impression that such cases prescribed after 20 years and that it was thus too late for me to take any legal action,” the statement reads.

“I will not let him get away with this,” Stander told 702.

I informed my family when I was in high school. I don’t think they believed me.

Asked to speak about her childhood, Stander said: “Growing up was not easy. As children, we weren’t allowed to ask any questions or tell anyone anything.”

She said she had told her family about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father.

“I informed my family at one stage when I was in high school. I don’t think they believed me.”

Stander said Rodrigues molested and physically abused her.

 “ … That went on for quite some time.”

After years of no contact with her father, Stander said he sent her an e-mail telling her that he was a changed man.

“He sent me an e-mail to say he had now found the Lord and that he is not the father he was supposed to be with me. I don’t believe it.”

Stander said speaking now about her father’s abuse had nothing to do with the charges Rodrigues is facing for Timol’s murder.

“This has nothing to do with the Timol case. This is something I wanted to do. I want him to face the court and tell everybody ‘I was wrong’.”

Woman and Men Against Child Abuse said in a statement that Stander had filed charges with the police on Tuesday. The case will be investigated by Pretoria police as Rodriguez was based at SAPS HQ there during the time of the alleged abuse.

In June, Rodrigues’ application for a permanent stay of prosecution in the Timol matter was dismissed. He then applied for leave to appeal. Rodrigues made the application for the permanent stay of prosecution after being charged with Timol's murder in July 2018.

Timol died after falling from the 10th floor of the then John Vorster Square police station in central Johannesburg, where he had been detained.

The original inquest in 1972 concluded that Timol had committed suicide but the inquest  was reopened in 2017, headed by judge Billy Mothle who found that Timol's death was a result of being pushed. It was recommended that Rodrigues be investigated.

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