Suspended KZN Hawks boss goes on early retirement

Durban - Suspended KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Major General Johan Booysen has accepted an early retirement agreement offer from the South African Police Service.

"It is true; I can confirm that today was my last day. Part of the settlement is that I am not allowed to talk about it," Booysen told News24 on Tuesday.

He said he had signed the agreement to leave after almost 42 years in the service.

However, it only dawned on him that Tuesday was his last day when he received a call from one of his colleagues during the course of the day wishing him well.

He declined to tell News24 what his future plans were because he still needed to "tie a few things up".

Booysen and the other officers were accused of operating a "Cato Manor death squad" and, in June 2012, were arrested and charged with 116 crimes, including racketeering, murder and attempted murder.

Repeated victories

They allegedly killed suspects and rivals of taxi operators with whom they were doing business and were accused of planting weapons to create the impression the killings were justified.

Booysen has won repeated victories against the criminal action and departmental proceedings against him, insisting that he, with the members of the unit as collateral damage, had been targeted because of his investigation into a politically connected few. 

The law required that all racketeering charges have to be signed off by the National Director of Public Prosecutions, a post filled at the time by Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba.

Booysen challenged this and, in 2014, High Court Judge Trevor Gorven set aside Jiba's authorisation, ruling that there was no evidence before her to warrant it.

This ruling was never appealed and the charges against him were withdrawn.

An internal disciplinary inquiry, chaired by Advocate Nazeer Cassim, also cleared Booysen of any wrongdoing, finding that he was a victim of political battles.

'I'm not dropping it'

Soon after his appointment in June 2015 National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams, allegedly using the same documentation as Jiba, reinstated the charges.

Booysen and the other officers then challenged Abrahams' decision to prosecute them.

Their matter is expected back in court in September.

He told News24 on Tuesday that despite the agreement, he would continue his battle against Abrahams' decision.

"I am not dropping it. That case is still ongoing."

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