Cato Manor 'death squad' accused to state their case

2017-09-29 05:45
Johan Booysen. (Supplied)

Johan Booysen. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg - Suspended KwaZulu-Natal head of Hawks Major-General Johan Booysen and 25 other police officers are expected to appear in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on Friday on charges of murder and racketeering.

Booysen, who accepted an early retirement offer from the South African Police Service, and other officers were accused of operating a "Cato Manor death squad".

The men were arrested in June 2012 and charged with 116 crimes which included counts of murder, attempted murder and racketeering.

READ: Suspended KZN Hawks boss goes on early retirement

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

Booysen, who had almost 42 years in the police service, has repeatedly won proceedings against him and has always maintained that he and other members of the unit were "collateral damage".

He previously told the media that he believed the members were targeted because they had been investigating several politically connected individuals.

Decisions challenged

The law requires that all racketeering charges be signed off by the National Director of Public Prosecutions, a post filled at the time Booysen was charged by Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba.

READ: Jiba, Mrwebi to be struck off the roll

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This ruling was never appealed and the charges against Booysen were withdrawn.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

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.

One of the accused, Captain Neville Eva, died more than four years ago from organ failure, but reportedly remained accused number two in the matter.

The seasoned police officer, who testified in the bail hearing that he had never in his career shot or killed anyone, died in November 2012, just months after his arrest.

He had been medically boarded at the time.

Read more on:    police  |  npa  |  durban  |  corruption

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