KZN Hawks boss denies suspension

KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen confirmed on Friday that he has not been suspended.

He referred the South African Press Association to a recent court interdict that prevented him from “inter alia being transferred, suspended or dismissed”.

On December 18, Judge Peter Olson of the high court in Durban granted the urgent interdict that prevented the police from discharging Booysen or shifting him to another province.

On Tuesday, Hawks boss Anwa Dramat was suspended, apparently pending a probe into his alleged involvement in facilitating the illegal rendition of Zimbabweans in November 2010.

At the time, the Helen Suzman Foundation said it was troubled by the suspension of both Dramat and “his KwaZulu-Natal counterpart”.

However, Booysen has subsequently clarified the remark is inaccurate.

Taxi wars
Various reports suggest police officials have been trying to get rid of Booysen since August 2012, when he was charged with racketeering for allegedly receiving payment to carry out hits in the KwaZulu-Natal minibus taxi wars.

In March this year, all criminal charges against him were withdrawn.

However, police still pursued disciplinary charges against him linked to his alleged failure to act against members of the Cato Manor serious and violent crimes unit for their alleged excessive use of force.

In September an internal inquiry, chaired by Nazeer Cassim SC, cleared him of any wrongdoing in this regard.

Nevertheless, at the time, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega placed Booysen on a month’s special leave in order to have the decision taken on review by the labour court.

The court subsequently ruled in Booysen’s favour.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said that it believed Booysen’s investigations into allegations of corruption between six MECs, Phiyega and businessman Toshan Panday had made him a target.

DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said it appeared as if the removal of Dramat was a means to bypass a court ruling that only the head of the Hawks could fire a provincial commissioner.

“It is quite obviously a political ploy to remove General Dramat, put an acting head in his position, and instruct that person to fire Lieutenant-General Johan Booysen.”

Earlier this week, the police ministry announced that Dramat would be replaced by acting head Major-General Berning Ntlemeza.

In 2012, Ntlemeza testified in a murder inquest against former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

Mdluli had asked the then Limpopo’s divisional commissioner to investigate the root of the allegations that he had murdered Oupa Ramogiba, an apparent love rival, in 1999.

At the time, Ntlemeza told the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court that he had compiled a report indicating that the re-opening of the 13-year-old murder case was part of a plot within crime intelligence to stop Mdluli’s promotion to the head of the department. – Sapa

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