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08 Jun 2001 00:00
Marianne Merten An intricate web of gangsters, anti-drug vigilantes, a schoolboy drug dealer and a suspected corrupt policeman operating in the Cape Flats underworld has emerged in Cape Town courts. Two leading members of the Americans gang are applying for bail on Friday June 8 after being arrested in connection with almost 2 000 Mandrax tablets seized from an 11-year-old schoolboy in Hanover Park last month.
One of them, Igshaan “Shaanoeg” Marcus, recently testified in two separate trials of members of People against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) at the Cape High Court.
In battles to control drug turfs it is common practice to use minors to carry and distribute drugs and guns, and to approach police to have dockets or evidence disappear. For example, in May 1999 28s gang boss and member of the drug cartel The Firm, Ernest “Lastig” Solomons, walked free on murder and kidnap charges. The Cape High Court heard how the investigating officer Superintendent Gert Ellis carried the Solomons docket, which was tampered with, in his briefcase for eight years. The investigator was suspended months after Judge Jeanette Traverso described him as “the least credible witness I have ever come across in my 30-year career”. The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), a statutory police watchdog, logged 12 complaints of police corruption in the Western Cape during the 2000/2001 financial year. In the previous financial year it investigated 17 cases. According to the ICD corruption includes taking bribes and theft of dockets.
ICD national representative Tsoeu Ntsane points out the watchdog can only investigate matters if the public lays a complaint. “There are maybe cases of corruption the public is not aware of,” he says. Police sources say it could be possible Barnard was set up by colleagues from the Phillippi police station. The station has been accused of neglecting its duties amid repeated allegations that some officers are collaborating with gangsters. Hanover Park community policing forum secretary Adelaide Daniels says the organisation has raised its unhappiness for a long time. “The powers that be don’t take notice. There is no consultation with the forum. There is no cooperation with the community. For me it’s like walking into a brick wall.”
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