A disturbing paradox sometimes occurs in front of court buildings, especially in Cape Town – those of organized crime suspects arriving for cases with several privately appointed, or self-described, guards, while police detectives may have a smaller constable protection detail.
This suggests an imbalance, with criminals having more security reserves at their disposal than those in the state tasked with hunting them down.
In South Africa’s gangster capital, the Western Cape, there was an echoing incident that highlighted security disparities The assassination of Detective Charles Kinnear in September 2020.
Kinnear, who was investigating suspected organized crime including fellow policemen, was shot outside his Bishop Lavis home in Cape Town.
A life at stake
It is now known that at the time of his murder, he was under threat.
In December 2018, Kinnear wrote to his superiors at the South African Police Service (SAPS), saying he was a colleague The officers were colluding with the suspects and working against him and some of his colleagues.
Part of Kinnear’s complaint said: “Every day I come home my neighbors can tell me about all the different vehicles [were] fixed in front of my house…
“I discovered in the meantime that the vehicles belonged to members of the Crime Intelligence Unit. My neighbors also became paranoid as they thought their lives might be in danger.”
Kinnear’s life was in danger.
“Just like a boss”
after his death, Investigations began In SAPS, and through its monitoring, the Independent Police Investigation Directorate, to find out why Kinnear was not under state protection at the time of his murder, when he was clearly under threat.
It appears no one in the state has been held accountable for Kinnear’s safety.
Regarding his assassination, he is among those arrested in connection with his assassination Alleged organized crime boss Navez ModakBeside Ashley Tapcher, former Western Cape anti-gang unit policeman.
They are part of a group that will be judged.
In 2018 during a private security case at the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court, where Modak was accused at the time, Kinnear testified about how Modak moved prior to his arrest with several armed men and a convoy of vehicles “as only the President could”.
(The president at the time was Jacob Zuma.)
Meanwhile, since Kinnear’s murder, former police officers have accused their superiors of effectively abandoning them while feeling their lives were in danger because of the investigations they were involved in while at SAPS.
Daily Maverick He understands that some police officers, who are still on duty, feel the same way.
last week Daily Maverick It was reported by journalist Vincent Croyagen that former Hawkeye officer Nico Hirschap was Police sued for R13 million In the aftermath of his father’s assassination in July 2019 in a killing spree, Hershab himself was the intended target.
Hershab alleged that the police chiefs failed to respond to the threats against him and did not provide him and his family with protection.
The situation is similar to Kenner’s.
While on the police service, Hershab, who has retired due to ill health, has been investigating Modak, among other things.
No breach of duty
Modak was later charged in connection with the murder of Hershab Senior.
According to the Cruywagen article, on the part of SAPS, it was alleged that Heerschap ran a side business that competed with Modack’s and that Heerschap had been discharged for medical reasons not arising from his official job duties.
Police Minister Becky Seeley also alleged that SAPS had no “constitutional duty” to “defend their workers” and had not breached any of their duties.
However, Hershab isn’t the only retired police officer who has raised flags about SAPS and security.
in December last year Retired Western Cape Anti-Gang Chief Andre LincolnHe, who left the police service at the end of 2021, said the constable chiefs removed his protective details one day after Kinnear was killed.
Lincoln, along with anti-gang unit policemen including Kinnear, were investigating whether fellow police officers in Gauteng were fabricating fraudulent firearms licences—Modak was also among the suspects in the case.
“I am concerned about the security of my family and myself. “I still have to testify in court cases and there is solid information about potential hits,” Lincoln said. Daily Maverick In December last year when discussing his security situation.
He added that he had been told that the National Crime Intelligence Threat Risk Assessment “made no suggestions that the threat to my life had been reduced.”
Ex-cop Jeremy Ferry has also raised concerns about security before.
‘life and death’
In July 2021, Ferry, who has been involved in major mob investigations including those of Modak, said he went into hiding as a security detail for which the cops assigned were not enough.
Ferry, who was He was dismissed from the police service in May 2021 Through Facebook posts, they took SAPS to court after its security was withdrawn.
The Western Cape High Court ruled in his favour, issuing the order Policeman heads to return the security detailbut Ferry said the protection he was later given was not enough.
“I led a clandestine existence before while I was in MK (Umkhonto weSizwe) and ANC Intelligence and Security Department under apartheid. I will continue to do more now to protect my family.
“This is about a life-and-death struggle for survival against the politics of organized crime, and it will be answered accordingly, regardless of SAPS protection.”
Phiri didn’t stay in hiding for long.
Criminal complaints against a former chief constable
Then there is the case of suspended senior policewoman Francina Phouma, who is linked to former national police commissioner Khala Situl.
Daily Maverick I previously reported that in January 2021, the Gauteng High Court found that Phouma, along with Situl and another of his deputies, had been found She breached her duties and put the interests of the ANC above the interests of the country.
This case relates to the so-calledNasrec GrabberThe scandal surrounding Crime Intelligence’s allegedly illegal attempt to procure a monitoring device known as a Grabber at an exorbitant price of R45 million (the regular price was R7 million) prior to the ANC electoral conference in Nasrek in 2017.
Sitol, fromExpress angerOn Kinnear’s murder when it occurred when he was still Chief of the Police Service in South Africa, also later Face criminal complaints Because of allegations that he did not cooperate with the Police Oversight Authority’s investigation into what happened to Kinnear.
he He denied non-cooperation But Kinnear’s saga was among those who clung to him when he was forced to step down as National Police Commissioner in February 2022.
I fear for my life
For her part, Phouma had previously been involved in an investigation into Kinnear’s lack of security at the time of his assassination.
Fast-forward to July last year—Phouma wrote to, among others, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Hawkes chief Godfrey Libya, saying, “I want to state up front that… I am afraid both for my life and my livelihood They are both under threat because I took it upon myself not to be affected by my decision and to stand up for my principles.
“As the National Deputy Commissioner in charge of Asset Management, I have had to reject many attempts, by my seniors, to influence certain contracts in favor of certain companies.”
Based on her allegations, Phouma appeared to fear her fellow police officers.
Aside from her case, an undercurrent beneath the examples detailed here, of former police officers expressing dissatisfaction with their security, is the matter of Kinnear.
He was killed when he clearly mistrusted some fellows and when he should have been under the protection of the state.
Kinnear, in addition to Hershab, Lincoln and Ferry, was involved in the investigation of Modak, who now faces charges in the murder of Hershab Seniors, along with ex-cop Ashley Tapcher, charged in connection with Kinnear’s assassination.
Whichever way it is looked at, and whatever reasons police chiefs may have with regard to (not) protecting many past and present officers, the situation regarding SAPS and security is deeply troubling.
Especially when viewed in conjunction with allegations that organized crime suspects, such as Modack, have infiltrated the private security industry, suggesting they have open access to these services.
Under all this the population is highly dependent on the state for law enforcement.
But if police officers cannot trust each other, or count on each other for protection, then it raises the obvious question, How can SAPS be entrusted with our safety? DM