New twist in Cato Manor ‘death squad’ trial

2015-02-10 16:42

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The members of the alleged Cato Manor death squad will appear in the Durban High Court for less than 30 minutes then their murder and robbery case will be adjourned for a provisional trial date to be set.

This after the state had, by this morning, not yet met a request for further particulars from lawyers for the members of the now disbanded Serious and Violent Crime Unit, who are accused of carrying out unlawful killings of taxi operators and armed robbery suspects. The case against their overall commander, Hawks provincial head Major General Johan Booysen, has already been withdrawn, with the prosecutors who instituted the racketeering case against him and his men now themselves facing criminal investigation.

The unit members were arrested in June 2012 and charged with racketeering and 14 counts of murder, armed robbery and defeating the ends of justice. They allegedly killed suspects or rivals of taxi operators they were doing business with and planted weapons to create the impression that the killings were justified.

The case, which was investigated by a Hawks team which took over from the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (Ipid) has taken place against a backdrop of allegations that the case was engineered by SAPS officials and politically connected Thoshan Panday in a bid to take out Booysen. Booysen has charged Panday and several SAPS procurement officials of defrauding the force of R10 million during the 2010 World Cup and subsequently of trying to buy him off with a R1.3 million bribe.

Booysen went to court to challenge the charges against him and won, sparking the prosecution of then Acting National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba. This, and his subsequent success in the Labour Court has weakened the state case, with the prosecution no longer able to argue that the killings were part of a premeditated criminal enterprise.

It is not clear yet at what stage the policemen’s lawyer, Carl van der Merwe, will make an application for a permanent stay of prosecution. He was today unwilling to comment on the matter beyond confirming that he had not yet received the state’s response to his request for further particulars.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.