Slain Anti-Gang Unit police chief Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear’s death reveals how close his team was to exposing the nationwide gun trade underworld, Gun Free SA says.
This as two more police officers appeared in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court in connection with Kinnear’s gun-licensing racket case investigation. The pair, Samuel Maredi and Zoleka Kuboni faced charges of fraud, defeating the ends of justice and contravention of the Firearms Act. They were granted R3000 bail each and the matter was postponed to the 27th of February 2021.
Lobby group Gun Free SA spokesperson Adele Kirsten, who has been following the case closely, says it is tragic and unnecessary that a police officer had to die in the course of fighting the violent criminal underworld.
It is clear, she adds, this particular investigation was about to unravel a decades-long symbiosis between corrupt police officers, private firearm training schools and gangs in the country.
“ I can understand why people want to say that the progress in this case means that (Kinnear) didn’t die in vain, but his death was completely preventable and unnecessary. He didn’t have to die, nobody should have had to die while doing the good work he was doing,” says Kirsten.
The two Gauteng police station commanders were arrested on Tuesday during a joint operation of members of the Western Cape Anti-Gang Unit and the national Anti-Corruption Unit.
The two brigadiers joined a long list of co-accused, including alleged underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack, his family members and 17 police officers, bringing to 28 the total number of arrests on the case. The two were understood to have been operating jointly with a firearm training school in the illegal issuing of firearm licences.
“The number of police officers involved in this case just shows you how deep this goes and I think we are going to see a lot more revealed as the case continues. I think what it tells us is that firearms are a sought after commodity and the thing about a high-value commodity is there is always a risk of fraud and corruption when there is money to be made.”
Stricter control in the firearm management system, which the organisation has been calling for, could have prevented Kinnear’s and many other deaths.
“We need tighter restrictions to reduce the risk of firearms falling into the wrong hands.”
Kinnear was killed just days before he was to arrest the pair himself in September this year. The man accused of ordering a hit against the officer, former rugby player Zain Killian appeared in the Bellville Regional Court on Monday, where he faced an additional charge of fraud after apparently lying about his legal status as a private investigator.
Killian was understood to have put the murdered cop under surveillance, tracking his movements in the weeks leading up to the murder. His bail hearing was postponed to 27 November and he remains in police custody.