'Hit squad' police get bail

2012-06-22 16:18

Durban - Eighteen police officers arrested in connection with alleged hit squad activities in the Durban Organised Crime Unit at Cato Manor were on Friday granted bail.

The Durban Regional Court released the men on R5000 bail each, and ordered them to report each Friday to their nearest police station.

Magistrate Sharon Marks also ordered them not to contact any witnesses.

Charges against two other officers were withdrawn on Thursday.

Earlier the Durban Regional Court  heard the bail hearing was "a complete abuse of process.

Advocate Guido Penzhorn described Colonel Frans Khola's admission that some of the 18 had been part of operations where suspects had died as "startling".

The officers were arrested on a number of murder charges allegedly related to their work at the unit.

Khola said, earlier 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.

Penzhorn said that the State's case was at best weak.

He said the state had failed to provide any evidence that the accused would interfere with witnesses or tamper with evidence.

There was a heavy security presence at the court.

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

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.

The 18 men 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.

  • rbphiri - 2012-06-22 16:21

    This is bribery at its best, our judicial system is flawed.

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-06-22 16:30

    5000 bail and yet baby rapists and murderers get 500 bail.

      Kala - 2012-06-22 16:35

      According to the anc, rape in this country is merely "troubling".

      goyougoodthing - 2012-06-22 16:44

      Yes they should get bail, they should not even be in court. My point is their bail is high... I imagine the reason for this is 'sensitive'

  • Honker - 2012-06-22 16:33

    Bury them. Corrupt cops are synonymous with ANC corruption in this country.

      allen.bullard.9 - 2012-06-22 17:12

      These guys saw to it that hi jackings in KZN virtually ceased, ATM bombings ceased, many violent criminals and escapees were hunted down. Now everyone is up in arms because of the methods they were forced to use? Fight fire with fire. We cannot pussyfoot around with callous criminals who wouldn't hesitate to kill. They would walk all over your "human rights". so why should we bother about theirs? These guys are heroes!

      robert.m.sylvester - 2012-06-27 08:16

      Bury who??? You are an ignorant ass

  • jack.oosthuysen - 2012-06-22 16:36

    Here comes big trouble.

      proudly.grozzer - 2012-06-23 20:34

      there was no need of bail.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-06-22 16:37

    Celk said shoot to kill and when police officers do they are criminals?.

  • khethani.nkabinde1 - 2012-06-22 16:38


      robert.m.sylvester - 2012-06-22 18:52

      Can YOU read?

  • Siyabonga Mkhwanazi - 2012-06-22 17:15

    Some people are annoying, i bet they blame ANC or the government even when their cats and dogs fart. Anti-South Africans.

  • Siyabonga Mkhwanazi - 2012-06-22 17:23

    Some people are annoying, i bet they blame the ANC or the government even when their dogs or cats fart. Anti-South Africans.

  • robert.m.sylvester - 2012-06-22 18:50

    How is it possible that so many stupid people can exist all at the same time AND declare their ignorance and bias in print, for all the world to see. GOOD GRIEF

  • Oamis - 2012-06-22 19:11

    To make an omelette, you have to break eggs, to rid south africa of crime you have to rid it of the cowardly criminals who pry on innocent law abiding civilians.......PERMANENTLY !!!!

  • sam.watt.77 - 2012-06-22 20:02

    These men are heroes! It is because of their bravery that lives have been saved!

  • ndabenhle.ngubane - 2012-06-29 10:10

    These guys have shot so many brutal hitmen and gunned down cash heist kingpins in KZN and. The have killed so many KZN hitmen and they fear nothing!!!

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