Booysen avoids axe again

2012-03-23 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Hawks boss Major-General Johan Booysen succeeded for the second time yesterday to halt an attempt by the police to suspend him.

The Durban Labour Court yesterday overturned a notice of suspension served on Booysen on Monday.

Judge David Gush simultaneously adjourned Booysen’s urgent application to hold the South African Police Service (SAPS) in contempt for ignoring an earlier interim interdict that prevented his suspension until he has been provided with certain information about the allegations against him.

That application was adjourned until a date can be arranged.

Booysen’s attorney, Carl van der Merwe, confirmed yesterday that the order overturning Booysen’s suspension was obtained by consent yesterday.

He declined to comment other than to say that the law would ultimately take its course in the matter.

Booysen has been embroiled in a legal battle with the police top brass since last month when he brought an application against Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, acting national police commissioner, Nhlanhla Sibusiso Mkhwanazi and national Hawks head Anwa Dramat after receiving notice of the SAPS’s intention to suspend him.

The basis for his pending suspension was allegedly his failure to act on information that allegedly implicated members under his command in serious misconduct, in particular members of the organised crime unit at Cato Manor, which has been closed down.

The misconduct complained of included allegations that police members under Booysen’s command used excessive force that resulted in the shooting of taxi boss, Bongani Mkhize in Bhekitemba in 2009.

Booysen succeeded in obtaining an interim court order stopping the authorities from suspending him until his bosses had provided him with detailed information about the allegations he faces so that he can make meaningful representations to them.

Notwithstanding the interim interdict, Booysen was handed a letter of suspension on Monday, causing him to urgently approach the Durban Labour Court yesterday to declare his suspension illegal, and hold his bosses in contempt of court.

THE Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) is investigating 51 cases against the now disbanded Durban organised crime unit, spokesperson Moses Dlamini said yesterday. He said all the cases related to the unit when it was based in Cato Manor.

The unit was shut down in February amid allegations that an alleged death squad operated in the Cato Manor crime unit. Most of its members have since been incorporated into the Hawks.

Dlamini said he could not confirm how many deaths there were in the 51 cases and said it was possible that more cases could be opened.

Dlamini confirmed that one of the cases being investigated by the ICD was the 2009 shooting of taxi boss Bongani Mkhize.

Three months before being killed by the police, Mkhize made headlines in KZN by securing a high court order forbidding the police from killing him.

He had claimed that the police wanted him dead to avenge the death of the Kranskop station commander Superintendent Zethembe Chonco. — Sapa.


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