Will KZN ‘death squad’ boss walk?

2013-06-16 10:00

The racketeering case against KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss General Johan Booysen over his alleged heading of the so-called Cato Manor “death squad” is on shaky ground.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has missed a court deadline to file papers opposing Booysen’s legal challenge to his case, and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), which investigated Booysen, is of the view that there is “no case against him”.

The NPA has until June 28 to file papers. If it fails to do so, Booysen’s bid to have the racketeering charges against him set aside will succeed.

Last year, Booysen and the unit’s members successfully challenged the Hawks’ search warrants against them.

In his papers, filed last month, Booysen claimed he had been set up by individuals inside and outside the SA Police Service who wanted to “prevent me from doing my job”.

In papers, he intimated that he was being nailed because he probed Umhlanga businessman Thoshan Panday, a business associate of President Jacob Zuma’s son Edward, for allegedly defrauding the police.

He argued that the racketeering certificate issued against him by the NPA was invalid as it was based on “lies” and “pressure” from the highly influential friends of those he was investigating.

Booysen was arrested in August last year after 27 members of the Cato Manor unit, which fell under his command, were charged for a series of murders and other crimes they allegedly committed. The high-profile arrests sparked a cold war between the Hawks and Ipid.

According to a source with intimate knowledge of the investigation, Ipid wanted a quieter, less aggressive surrender process.

“We had never intended to charge Booysen from the beginning. There was no case against him,” the source said.

“We wanted to investigate first and take our time, and make arrests much later. They (the Hawks) wanted to arrest, believing that there would be a lot of evidence against Booysen. The impression we had was that they were under pressure from higher up.”

Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini said his directorate had conducted its investigations and had handed dockets over to the NPA for a decision.

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