'I never tampered with apartheid crime scenes' - ex-cop tells court

2017-05-02 12:35
Andre Lincoln. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

Andre Lincoln. (Jaco Marais, Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - A former high-ranking policeman has denied involvement in allegedly government-ordered crimes committed in the 1980s and says he instead went out of his way to sensitively handle the scenes.

Leonard Knipe was testifying in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday in the civil trial focusing on Major-General Andre Lincoln.

He previously testified that Knipe was part of a group of police officers that "cleaned" crime scenes, including after the killing of seven anti-apartheid activists in Gugulethu in 1986, and the bombing of Community House in Salt River in 1987.

But on Tuesday Knipe denied this.

"I was the policeman who arrived on the scene - one of the first. I took charge of the scene," he testified, referring to the Gugulethu incident.

"I arranged that forensics arrived on the scene, as horrific as it was."


Knipe said that together with another sergeant, he had noted what each of the seven killed had on them.

One was lying with his stomach on the ground and it was feared there was a hand grenade beneath him.

The area was cleared.

"A rope was tied to the belt of the deceased and he was pulled over to see what was there," Knipe said.

He denied "sweeping" the scene as Lincoln had alleged.

"There was criticism [relating to] arrangements I had made to wash blood off the streets afterward… But this was standard procedure," Knipe said.

He said he knew nothing about the Community House incident and was shocked that Lincoln had alleged he did.

In 1996, former president Nelson Mandela tasked Lincoln with heading up a presidential investigative task unit to investigate Cape Town-based Italian mafioso Vito Palazzolo.

Lincoln was tasked with, among other matters, investigating Palazzolo's links to government officials, police and businessmen.

But he was instead arrested on an array of charges linked to Palazzolo.

Lincoln is therefore claiming R15m in damages from the minister of police. The case continues.

Read more on:    police  |  cape town  |  corruption  |  crime

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