Support for arrested KZN cops

2012-08-23 09:07
Picture: AP

Picture: AP

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Durban - Visitors streamed into the Durban North police station holding cells late on Wednesday evening, bearing bags of fast-food, flasks of coffee, blankets and formal clothes for the arrested police officers to wear at Thursday's court appearance.

Policemen from other units also turned out in droves to show their support for those arrested, including provincial head of the Hawks, Major General Johan Booysen.

While the wives of some of the arrested suspects were seen with blotchy eyes from crying, some of the arrested policemen welcomed the visits from their family and friends. Late in the evening, two of the suspects arrested in Rustenburg and Pretoria joined the ten other suspects who were arrested earlier.

The arrested policemen stood around in the holding cells, speaking to each other and strategised about their appearance in court.

Shock

Sipping on coffee in plastic cups, and eating chocolates, many were still shocked over their arrests while some were relieved that they were finally arrested after months of speculation.

Some dressed casually in shorts, track pants and T-shirts while Booysen, was wearing blue formal pants and a blue and white striped shirt.

“We grew up the hard way and are used to spending many nights out on the field waiting for suspects. We just going to pull our blankets over ourselves and find a nice space on the floor,” said one of the officers.

Booysen refused to speak to the media. A source from provincial headquarters who was present at the holding cells questioned Booysen’s arrest saying he (Booysen) had been part of a management team at provincial level who had only received reports of the alleged murders after they had happened. The source, whose details are known to the Witness, but has asked not to be named for fear of reprisal, said Booysen had never been "physically" present at any of the cases that form part of the prosecution’s case against them.

“The question that has to be asked is if Booysen, as the provincial head of the unit, has been arrested, then why have the others - to whom he reported - not also been arrested? They were also equally aware of each and every shooting. Booysen, as the provincial head, was totally oblivious to warrants issued by the officers on the ground,” said the source.

At the time, the provincial commissioner was Hamilton Ngidi.

Racketeering


Earlier, IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini said the racketeering charges against Booysen related to allegations that he “aided and abetted his guys”.

“He allegedly granted them access to warrants, police equipment and other such things so he knew what they were doing at any given time.

“As leader of the unit at provincial level, he ought to have known that what the unit members were doing was wrong and taken steps thereof,” said Dlamini.

Colonel Rajen Aiyer, the direct commander of the unit at the time, has been eliminated as a suspect as there was no direct evidence linking him to any of the cases, said Dlamini.

“We will also not be using him as a witness,” said Dlamini.

Thursday's bail application is expected to be riveting, with Booysen expected to take the stand. The other 18 accused, all members of the unit, who were arrested in June this year, will appear in the Regional Court on Friday, along with Booysen and the others arrested on Wednesday.

It is expected they will be served with indictments and for the latest charges to be added.

Read more on:    police  |  ipid  |  hawks  |  johan booysen  |  durban  |  cato manor cops
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