How Part 1 developed

2012-08-23 00:00

• In June this year, it was reported how former police chief Bheki Cele walked quietly into the courtroom to support 18 members of the Cato Manor serious and violent crimes unit who were applying for bail the day after being arrested for 14 alleged hit squad killings. The detectives and their supporters broke into applause.

He acknowledged them and sat directly behind his former foot soldiers, close enough to lay a hand on a shoulder. t was right that Cele – commissioner from June 2009 till the day before the Cato Manor arrest warrants were signed on June 13 – took a seat where he did.

Cato Manor commander Lieutenant Colonel Willie Olivier and his men are the ones sitting in the dock for the 14 killings, but the “shoot first” ethos that was the hallmark of Cele’s tenure is very much on trial here as well.

• In July, reports stated the South Africa police watchdog knew about alleged murders committed by the so-called Cato Manor “death squad” in 2008, but put the investigation on the back burner.

The IPID has denied the allegations and insists the case closure rate is a misrepresentation of the organisation’s statistics.

• In August, we reported how the Hawks investigators swooped on additional suspects in the Cato Manor hit squad investigation. Eleven of the serious and violent crime unit officers were arrested.

At that stage, it was not clear whether General Johan Booysen, former head of the organised crime unit — under which serious and violent crime falls — would also arrested.

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