Booysen not surprised by crime unit suspension

2012-09-12 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Hawks head Major- General Johan Booysen and 28 members of the Durban Organised Crime Unit have been suspended with immediate effect, but with full benefits.

The suspension, “as a precautionary measure”, comes 10 months after the national Hawks ordered an investigation into the unit following the publication of a picture that showed some of the members of the unit allegedly celebrating after shooting and killing wanted suspects. Booysen and the officers are all charged with racketeering and murder, among several other charges.

Booysen and the other accused policemen all welcomed their suspension, saying it would now force the SAPS to institute disciplinary steps against them, in accordance with labour procedure, and thereby level the allegations against them.

He said he was not surprised by the suspension,l which he had been expecting.

“At least things are now coming to a head where the allegations against us can be tested.

“And we would also welcome a public hearing into the matter as it would be in the interest of the police, the suspended members of the unit and the public. Only a transparent public hearing will suffice,” Booysen said late last night.

Another member said they looked forward to the disciplinary hearing as it would “expose all the lies”.

“All those who have been supplying information against us will now have to present themselves and be subjected to cross examination,” said the officer.

“We look forward to it as it will now expose all the lies and reveal the agenda behind the entire disbanding of the unit, the charges against us and everything else that has since occurred.”

This latest turn of events follows a drawn-out attempt by the SAPS to suspend Booysen and the other officers.

Booysen had already obtained interdicts from the Durban Labour Court overturning two attempts by the SAPS to suspend him, while the officers, who had initially received notices of suspension earlier this year, heard nothing further on the matter until last week.

Hawks spokesperson McIintosh Polela said he could not comment on the matter as it was an internal one.

Meanwhile, a request has been made on the Durban Organised Crime Unit Facebook page for supporters of the unit to e-mail national hawks head Lieutenant-General Anwa Dramat to request that the disciplinary hearing be a public one.

The page administrator posted: “This will be in the interest of the police and the affected members and to ensure an open and transparent process.

“This will also be in the public’s interest as it is ultimately us who are paying for this charade.”

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