Former Cato Manor unit cops back on the job - report

2019-06-30 15:20
Johan Booysen. (Conrad Bornman)

Johan Booysen. (Conrad Bornman)

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Members of the Cato Manor police unit which has been the subject of scrutiny by the police, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the media in recent years have reportedly returned to work.

Retired police boss, Johan Booysen, says some of a number of his former officers have returned to the Durban Organised Crime Unit, while others are now working in units in Johannesburg and Cape Town, iOL reported on Saturday.

Booysen, who wrote a book about the ordeal the unit faced entitled "Blood on their hands", said some of the officers had already made notable breakthroughs on some of the cases they've been working on since returning to duty.

The former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head said the saga had a significant impact on the police officers' lives, adding that the people behind the targeting "had blood on their hands".

"They sat at home for the next seven years as the case dragged through the courts and the charges were ultimately discredited. In that time, three detectives died, five retired and two resigned."

Booysen himself accepted an early retirement agreement from the police. His last day of service was on February 28, 2017.

The unit was termed the "Cato Manor Death Squad" after the Sunday Times reported on a series of claims against the team of officers.

The report led to the police and the NPA charging Booysen and his team. In 2012, they were arrested and charged with 116 criminal counts, including racketeering, murder and attempted murder.

In 2018, the Sunday Times apologised for getting it wrong on the unit in a series of articles.

"We committed mistakes and allowed ourselves to be manipulated by those with ulterior motives.

"For that, we failed you. We failed SA. We deeply regret it," said the publication's editor Bongani Siqoko at the time.

READ: Sunday Times stripped of journalism award for Cato Manor 'death squad' reporting

Giving testimony at the commission of inquiry into state capture in April, Booysen claimed former police minister Nathi Mthethwa pressured prosecutors to arrest the unit on racketeering charges. At the Mokgoro inquiry into the fitness of Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi to hold office, Booysen said Jiba, a former acting NPA boss, decided to prosecute him without having enough evidence.

Mthethwa and Jiba have denied Booysen's claims.

Read more on:    npa  |  hawks  |  johan booysen
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