The death in police custody of Ahmed Timol, political activist and underground operative, is confirmed

Thursday, 28 October 1971

On 28 October1971, the death of anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol, was officially confirmed. It was revealed that the thirty year old teacher at the Roodepoort School and one of nineteen Indians in detention, died after he had plunged from a window on the tenth floor of John Vorster Square Police Station (now Johannesburg Central Police). His death was confirmed by police officers Brigadier P. Kruger and Sergeant Rodrigues, who alleged that he had committed suicide.

Timol became the seventeenth person to die in detention under security laws. He was a member of the banned South African Communist Party (SACP). Following calls from the opposition and others for a judicial inquiry into the deaths of police detainees, Prime Minister B.J Vorster stated on 29 October 1971 that he found no need for such an inquiry.

• Department of Justice(1996). ‘The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’from Department of Justice [online]. Available at[Accessed: 19 September 2011]
• Kalley, J.A., Schoeman, E. and Andor, L.E. (1999). Southern African Political History: a chronology of key political events from independence to mid-1997. Westport: Greenwood.

Last updated : 28-Oct-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011