Twenty arrested on hit squad allegations
20 Jun 2012
Twenty police officers linked to the Cato Manor unit have been arrested. The arrests were made following a joint investigation by the Hawks and the Independent Police Investigations Directorate. Assisted by Crime Intelligence and Task Force, a team of over sixty detectives conducted arrests as well as search and seizures at addresses in Durban, and another home at the West Rand. Two of the suspects were arrested in Hammanskraal.
In December 2011, the Sunday Times published several articles alleging that personnel attached to Cato Manor were involved in "hit squad" activities. In response, Hawks head Anwa Dramat put together a team to investigate these allegations. The team, led by North West Province Hawks head Major General Jan Mabula began an internal inquiry in January this year.
Meanwhile Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Executive Director Francois Beukman setup a task team of investigators to review all the cases involving members of the Cato Manor Organised Crime Unit and finalise investigations.
The IPID team led by Provincial Head of the IPID in Limpopo, Innocent Khuba. The team comprised of up to fifteen investigators from provinces other than KwaZulu-Natal. Most of the investigations were already being investigated by the IPID in terms of its mandate to investigate deaths in police custody and deaths as a result of police action.
In March, acting National Police Commissioner Lt General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi requested the Hawks to lead a criminal investigation. IPID and the Hawks have been working together to finalise the investigations that led to today's arrests. The two organisations went ahead with this morning's operation after securing warrants from the National Prosecuting Authority.
The arrested suspects face among others charges of assault, theft, murder and unlawful possession of guns and ammunition. They will appear in the Durban Magistrate Court tomorrow. This is the first phase of the investigation. We expect that more arrests will follow in the next phases.
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Issued by: South African Police Service
20 Jun 2012
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