Two high-profile cases against senior police officers heard in the courts yesterday mark the beginning of the end of the state capture era of political influence on the criminal justice system, the DA says.
Democratic Alliance (DA) member of parliament Dianne Kohler Barnard was referring to the withdrawal of charges against former Hawks head Anwar Dramat and former Gauteng Hawks boss Shadrack Sibiya in the 2010 Zimbabwe rendition case, and the postponed case against former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen and his co-accused in the Cato Manor “murder squad” case.
Both cases have been linked to an alleged plot to oust or silence certain police officials at the behest of former president Jacob Zuma and former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
Barnard lamented the continued delays in the state’s case against Booysen and 27 officers in the alleged “death squad” matter, which was postponed for an entire year yesterday in the High Court in Durban.
She also reiterated her stance that the rendition trial, in which officers were accused of kidnapping and illegally handing over Zimbabwean suspects to authorities in their home country, was part of a plot to silence those who were investigating corruption charges against Mdluli. He was suspended at the time.
“All the good officers who were driven out because they were politically neutral and actually good at their job are being asked to come back now. It’s interesting to see the developments in the police in the post-Zuma era,” said Kohler Barnard.
After the charges against Booysen were dropped, he was charged again by then national director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams in 2016.
This was after the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban ruled that deputy national director of Public Prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, did not have the evidence before her to authorise racketeering charges against Booysen.
“Booysen was cleared in the Labour Court and in every other court in the land over and over. And of this entire group that was charged, this wasn’t even his team,” said Kohler Barnard.
Last week in parliament, she called for the protection of Zuma-affiliated police officers to stop.