Case opened after 'brawl' in court corridor between CT police commander and convict’s family

2018-05-03 18:01
Collin Govender. (File, Netwerk24)

Collin Govender. (File, Netwerk24)

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An apparent 'brawl' that took place in the corridors of the Western Cape High Court last week has heightened tensions between Cape Town Central police station commander Brigadier Hansia Hansraj and the family of former brigadier Collin Govender.

The fight is said to have taken place after Govender appeared in court last Thursday alongside businessman Saleem Dawjee, former Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer and former brigadier Darius van der Ross.

Dawjee was recently found guilty of corruption and fraud, while his co-accused were convicted of corruption.

They pleaded guilty in exchange for a non-custodial sentence, according to an agreement with the National Prosecuting Authority.

Govender’s wife Sharon, also a former brigadier, was acquitted of all charges against her.

Hansraj was the whistleblower cop who testified about exposing a network of corruption while Goodwood police station commander.

She launched an inquiry into apparent cosy relationships between Dawjee, Lamoer and others in 2012.

Last week, words were apparently exchanged in the passage as Hansraj, the Govenders, and their daughter Kirshia and her fiancé, left Court 20.

News24 understands that Hansraj then reported cases of intimidation, criminal defamation, crimen injuria and assault on a police officer.

It is understood that the intimidation complaint relates to the allegation that she was threatened as a whistleblower and allegedly told "your turn is next", in apparent reference to her daughter, who died from cancer.

Govender's lawyer, Johann Nortje, however, claims that he witnessed Hansraj being aggressive towards the family and voiced his concerns that her "irrational behaviour" might lead her to doing something "malicious".

He immediately emailed Judge Rosheni Allie's office to inform her about the "unfortunate incident" he had witnessed.

He said it started when Kirshia told her fiancé that she could not believe they had to "sit through all this" as they exited the courtroom.

"Brig Hansraj who was just behind her, pushed Kirshia against the wall and putting her finger to Kirshia's face saying (sic): 'What did you say your fucking b****h?'" his email stated.

He added that he overheard Hansraj threatening to arrest Govender and his wife.

"I intervened and asked everybody to just calm down and go…. I needed to put this on record asap as the irrational behaviour of Hansraj may easily lead her to go and maliciously arrests (sic) the Govenders, knowing that wedding celebrations are starting on Sat-Tuesday (sic)."

With conflicting claims of intimidation and assault swirling around, detectives have been roped in to investigate.

Hansraj referred a query to Western Cape police, who would only say that a case of intimidation was opened at Cape Town Central last week.

"The case is currently under investigation, hence no further details can be divulged," said provincial police communications head, Brigadier Novela Potelwa.

On Wednesday, both prosecutor Billy Downer and Nortje raised the conflict in court as closing arguments were being heard.

Downer said, as far as he was concerned, he thought it was a good idea that the court was informed.

"If it's the former police contingent of the accused, then they ought to know what is best, surely, when it comes to interactions which become hostile," Allie replied.

"The point is, at this delicate point of proceedings, I don't want to cloud my judgement with information that is extraneous. I have heard submissions on behalf of the accused. The person referred to, witness Hansraj, is not an accused before me, and the evidence I have of her, is contained in my judgment."

Nortje said the hostility started inside the court and continued with interference in wedding celebrations at the weekend.

"She sent eight police officers to the Govenders' house… we have already embarked on the correct processes. I wanted the court to maybe say that nobody, including current police officers, should interfere with the current proceedings.

Allie replied that anyone could follow the relevant procedures to lay complaints if they felt it necessary.

Govender and his co-accused are expected to be sentenced next week.

Read more on:    saps  |  cape town

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