'Hit squad' cops could face more charges

2012-06-22 12:53

Durban - More charges could be brought against 10 of the 18 members of the disbanded Cato Manor branch of the Durban Organised Crime Unit, the Durban Regional Court heard on Friday.

Colonel Frans Khola told the court he was "preparing affidavits and will soon have them arrested on that matter".

Khola said the charges would relate to investigations involving taxi violence.

Khola was speaking at the bail hearing of 18 officers who were arrested in connection with alleged hit squad activities in the Durban Organised Crime Unit based at Cato Manor.

Some officers not directly involved

Charges against two other officers were withdrawn on Thursday.

Khola said under cross-examination that although some of the officers were not directly involved in the alleged murders, they had been charged with murder.

He said this was because they were part of the operation that resulted in the deaths of suspects.
"This is all about common purpose."

It emerged that one of the officers - Johnny Smith - was not even a member of the Cato Manor unit at the time of the 2008 murder for which he is accused. He was part of the police's gambling unit.

Khola admitted that there was no ballistic evidence linking Smith to the crime scene, saying Smith had been placed at the crime scene by other members of the Cato Manor unit.

There was a heavy security presence at the court.

People ejected from court

Ten heavily armed police officers were present at the court, which was again filled with relatives of the 18 officers of the Durban Organised Crime unit.

The 18 face 71 charges which include 14 charges of murder, 14 of unlawful possession of ammunition, 14 of unlawful possession of firearms, and four of house-breaking.

One of the 18 men - Rubendren "Shane" Naidoo - arrived late after visiting the funeral parlour to pay his last respects to his 27-year old brother, who had recently died.

Police officers did not allow anyone to stand in the public gallery and ejected people from court.

The 18 men who appeared in court on Friday are:
Gonasagern Padayachee, 44, Adriaan Stolz, 51, Paul Mostert, 51, Eric Nel, 41, Captain Neville Eva, 45, Adjithsingh Ghaness, 41, Phumelela Makhanya, 45, Willem Ollivier, 59, Peter George, 51, Thembinkosi Mkhwanazi, 47, Mhlabunzima Thabethe, 49, Thathayiphi Mdlalose, 48, Charles "Johnny" Smith, 40, Jeremy Marten, 39, Rubendren "Shane" Naidoo, 33, Raymond Lee, 31, Anton Lockem, 44, and Bruce McInness, 43.

  • richard.hipkin - 2012-06-22 13:02

    Khola said under cross-examination that although some of the officers were not directly involved in the alleged murders, they had been charged with murder. He said this was because they were part of the operation that resulted in the deaths of suspects. "This is all about common purpose." WTF?????????????

      richard.hipkin - 2012-06-22 13:04

      So in a shootout with cops a criminal is shot dead and then the members are all charged with murder????? For common purpose!!!!

      Kala - 2012-06-22 14:09

      I'm getting the same thing Charles Bronson.

      bob.small.7547 - 2012-06-22 14:47

      I also get posts deleted that should not be...! Appears that some moderators on News 24 are VERY biased....! So much for freedom of expression!

      eradingoana - 2012-06-22 16:08

      Surely those other officers can be charged with accessory to murder, accomplice. If they were not directly involved, they were giving instructions or failed to report the murders while aware of them.

  • Hugo - 2012-06-22 13:21


  • richard.hipkin - 2012-06-22 13:27

    By this logic, every single cop should be charged with murder...

  • Gregory Jurgens - 2012-06-22 13:27

    Free the pigs to kill the cockroaches

  • helen.boden.5 - 2012-06-22 13:33

    One of the men was not even part of the unit in 2008!!! Go figure....

  • dennis.vermaak.5 - 2012-06-22 13:48

    This is an almighty large can of cele worms !!

  • toofaan.monsoon - 2012-06-22 13:49

    In all the coverage on this case, I have not yet read about who was actually murdered. Who was intimidated etc ? If they were law abiding citizens, by all means throw the book at the cops. If they were criminals, then these cops are heros who have done what our so called justice system failed to do to protect the upright South African.

      evangelist.shieldbearer - 2012-07-02 17:45

      As far as I know, the killings in question relate to (amongst others), 8 suspects in the Chonco (policeman ambushed and murdered) killing, an apparently armed 16-year-old killed during a search for escaped convict, a policeman killed in custody (arrested for paying someone to kill another policeman) and various ATM & cash-in-transit suspects killed - presumably all of these cases were 'resisting arrest'. I might also point out that even if you're holding a gun in your hand and are busy shooting at policemen, you are still termed a 'suspect' as you have not yet been convicted of anything - somehow the term implies 'innocent until proven guilty' even while the bullets are flying, but let's understand that the 'suspects' this unit investigates and arrests were all wanted for their involvement in organised and violent crime (not to mention police killings for many of them) - I somehow doubt they would not resist arrest, but that is for the state to now prove.

  • yummyhamster - 2012-06-22 13:52

    They are HEROES... leave them alone and a huge bonus.

  • malcolm.williams.144 - 2012-06-22 13:56

    Is this not perhaps a means of silencing them? Another attempted cover up perhaps?

  • isobel.henning - 2012-06-22 14:06

    These men are heroes and family men and no threat to society ,they do not deserve this.They face violent criminals .There are so many real criminals walking the streets that need to be prosecuted. Release these men and stop wasting our tax money .Hawks focus your energy on stopping senseless killing on farmers,woman and children.Booysen ,where are you? your men that worked under you before need you surely ?

  • sewsexy - 2012-06-22 14:32

    The following link should help people to understand why these cops are being charged :-

  • thami.ngubane.3 - 2012-06-22 17:17

    Why mostly only white and Indian people are supporting the police officers? Only Gen Cele is the only black person I saw who supports them...I don't mean aything.

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