Booysen: I’m being persecuted

2012-08-24 00:00

KZN Hawks head Major-General Johan Booysen is unfazed by his arrest but believes he is being persecuted after he initiated a high-profile corruption investigation, involving wealthy businessmen with links to senior police officials and influential politicians.

Booysen, one of the province’s most senior officers, also has no qualms making personal sacrifices in his mission to root out corruption.

Speaking to The Witness shortly after he was released on R5 000 bail, Booysen met with his legal representatives and other accused at a beachfront hotel.

“I am willing to fight corruption even if it means a personal sacrifice. That’s how strongly I feel about rooting out corruption. My conscience is clear and I have nothing to hide.

“I know why all of this has come about. I have been persecuted ever since I initiated a high-profile investigation into corruption involving wealthy businessmen who have links with senior police officials and other influential political individuals. Senior people within the prosecuting authority and even senior police officers have all consistently indicated that I am a target in this investigation,” he said.

Booysen said he had expressed his concerns with his seniors during a meeting earlier this year.

“I also expressed my dissatisfaction with the various underhanded and unethical ways in which this investigation had been conducted. This, I am sure, will be revealed during the trial,” said Booysen.

Responding to the racketeering charges he faces, he said it was “void of substance”.

“The charges are glaringly lacking but I will deal with these false allegations in an independent court of law,” he said.

Turning to his arrest on Wednesday, Booysen said although he had met with the investigators and offered to be arrested, they had insisted on arresting him at his offices and handcuffing him.

“Why they handcuffed me with my hands in front I do not know as I posed no threat. In fact almost two hours after they had arrested me and travelling from my offices to my home, they realised they had not searched me for a firearm. When they asked me if I had a firearm, I pointed out that I did indeed and reached with my handcuffed hands to give it to them. There was no need to treat me like a common criminal.

“Had it been anyone else, it could have been disastrous.

Booysen rubbished a statement from IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini that they had to go to Booysen’s office to “retrieve” him after he failed to hand himself over.

“They asked me to go to my office and wait for them but when they failed to turn up half-an-hour later, I phoned them, telling them I was waiting for them to arrest me. No one had to retrieve me,” said Booysen.

He said he had expressed his dissatisfaction in how the arrests were handled to General Mabula, who headed the investigation.

“I told him that it was unacceptable how he and his team had turned the arrests into a circus by insisting that some of my co-accused had been paraded and handcuffed deliberately in front of the media.

“I also told him that I found it distasteful that the investigators had leaked information about the arrests to certain weekly national journalists even before the accused themselves had been apprehended.

“I have placed it on record that all of these acts by the investigative team are a deliberate attempt to humiliate me and members of that unit. The general way the investigators conducted themselves on Wednesday was all designed to create a delay so we were forced to spend a night in a holding cell.

“The processing of an accused person generally takes a short while, but it was clear the team was meandering and stalling for time, so we would not be able to go to court. All of this suggests a purposeful attempt to denigrate us,” said a tired-looking Booysen.

Despite that, he said, some of the investigators had treated him and the other accused well, even offering him an opportunity to shield his face with his jacket to prevent the media from taking a photograph of him.

“I declined the opportunity, insisting I had never hidden my face and had no reason to do so now,” he said.

Overwhelmed by the support he had received from members of the public across the racial divide, Booysen said he was particularly touched by the words he heard shouted out as he was escorted from the Air Wing offices.

“I never expected to hear it, but it touched me greatly when as we drove off, I heard a senior journalist shouting ‘Hamba Kahle General, you stand for the truth’,” he said.

Booysen, together with his co-accused and 18 other members of the now disbanded unit, will appear in court again today. It is believed indictments will be served on them. A long list of witnesses, including police officers, mortuary assistants, pathologists and forensic investigators, forms part of the lengthy indictments.

IPID’s Dlamini said their investigations were complete and nothing was outstanding in their docket. He expected the matter to be adjourned for a possible trial date.

THE following is a list of all the police members accused of extrajudicial killings in connection with the activities of the Durban Organised Crime Unit:

Johan Booysen (55)

Vincent Auerbach (40)

Jan van Tonder (56)

Nico Crouse (42)

Paul Mostert (51)

Neville Eva (45)

Gonasagren Padayachee (44)

Adjithsingh Ghaness (41)

Shane Smith (44)

Phumelela Makhanya (45)

Willem Olivier (59)

Adriaan Stoltz (45)

Assogram Pillay (47)

Thathayiphi Mdlalose (48)

Thembinkosi Mkhwanazi (47)

Sibongile Sikhulume (37)

Bongani Zondi (43)

Eric Nel (41)

Raymond Lee (31)

Musawenkosi Nkabane (48)

Felokwakhe Dlamuka (46)

Anton Lockem (44)

Sandile Mfene (31)

Peter George (51)

Mhlabunzima Thabethe (49)

Charles Smith (40)

Jeremy Marten (39)

Bruce McInnes (43)

Mukesh Panday (48)

Rubendren Naidoo (33)

The accused officers

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