KZN police 'murder gang' probed
Dries Liebenberg, Beeld
Durban – The head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal and ten members of the organised crime unit at Cato Manor have been informed by police that they will be suspended pending allegations that the unit allegedly operated like a murder gang.
Major General Johan Booysen, who was appointed two years ago as the head of the Hawks in the province, reacted to the notice last Monday after receiving it the previous day. The detectives at Cato Manor were moved to the Durban offices on Friday.
Beeld learned that ten members of the unit had received similar notices on Friday.
Colonel Rajen Aiyer, commander of Cato Manor during these shooting incidents, was not among the ten.
The Sunday Times reported on Sunday that allegations were being investigated that 18 police officials had unlawfully shot and killed 51 suspects.
Booysen’s lawyer, Carl van der Merwe, said attempts to suspend the general would be opposed strongly. Booysen was praised by police at the end of last year when he allegedly refused to accept a R2m bribe to doctor a corruption investigation into an R60m tender for police offices.
Colonel Navin Madhoe of the police’s acquisitions department was arrested when he apparently was caught putting R1.4m in Booysen’s car boot.
Thoshan Panday, a businessman who was investigated in connection with the alleged tender corruption, was later also arrested in connection with the alleged bribery attempt.
It came to light on Sunday that allegations had already been made in 2009 by a senior police official regarding the Cato Manor unit having murdered 280 suspects. This conversation was on tape.
At that stage, there was a disciplinary hearing against a policeman with regards to the unlawful use of police vehicles and private work that he had done without permission.
The officer apparently described Booysen, a member of the prosecuting authority and the head of the provincial detective service at the time, as a “mafia” whom they should “get rid of”.
Hawks spokesperson Colonel McIntosh Polela did not want to comment on the investigation into the alleged police murders, saying it was an internal matter.