- Slain detective Charl Kinnear never had formally approved protection, Parliament has heard.
- Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole has appointed a senior officer to investigate why this is the case.
- ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe expressed his disappointment over the lack of protection.
Slain top detective Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear never had formally approved protection, national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khehla Sitole said on Tuesday.
Kinnear was assassinated as he arrived at his home in Bishop Lavis, Cape Town, on 18 September. He was reportedly close to a breakthrough in a "guns to gangs" syndicate with its tentacles in the police's Central Firearms Registry (CFR). This is viewed as a threat to the murky underworld and corrupt police officials.
He was also involved in several other sensitive investigations, and he was killed days after Police Minister Bheki Cele announced a special steering committee to investigate allegations that protection fees were being demanded of restaurants, coffee shops and, of late, some apartment blocks in Cape Town.
News24 reported earlier that he had received several threats to his life. He was under armed police guard until his protection was withdrawn in December last year.
In the aftermath of the brazen hit on Kinnear, the question of why he wasn't receiving protection arose.
This question was repeated by ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe in Tuesday's meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Police, asking who withdrew Kinnear's protection.
"Would I be wrong to suggest the person who withdrew the protection was on the list to be arrested or investigated?" asked Meshoe.
Sitole said, according to the police's current policy framework, the person with the authority to withdraw protection is the police commissioner.
However, Kinnear wasn't under formally approved protection, Sitole said, explaining that when there was a perceived threat to an officer, the officer was placed on preliminary protection, while crime intelligence investigated whether it was a low, medium or high risk.
When this determination had been made, the officer was placed under the requisite protection, with the national commissioner's approval.
Sitole said he had appointed a lieutenant-general to investigate why Kinnear wasn't protected, and had received a preliminary report. He said he was still waiting for the final report, at which point more light would be shed on why Kinnear wasn't receiving protection.
Meshoe said he is disappointed by this answer, as everyone knrew "dealing with the underworld is a dangerous and risky business".
At the start of the meeting, Police Minister Bheki Cele described Kinnear's murder as "cold-blooded" while committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson took a moment to pay tribute to him.
A former rugby player, Zane Kilian, was arrested on 21 September in Springs, Gauteng, in connection with Kinnear's murder. His bail application in the Bishop Lavis Magistrate's Court was postponed on Monday amid security concerns. He faces charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and illegal interception of communications. He allegedly illegally intercepted Kinnear's phones from March to September.