Anguish at ‘hit squad’ holding cells

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Former head of the disbanded Cato Manor unit, Colonel Willie Olivier, in handcuffs yesterday. Picture: S'bonelo Ngcobo

Charlene Eva stood outside the holding cells of the Durban Central police station for more than seven hours on Wednesday night, desperate to hand medication and specially prepared food to her gravely ill husband.

Alongside her, emotional relatives of Warrant Officer Shane Naidoo lined up to tell him that his 25-year-old brother had died of a heart attack a few hours earlier.

Captain Neville Eva and 19 members of the Durban Organised Crime Unit, Cato Manor, were arrested on Wednesday in an operation by members of the National Intervention Unit (NIU) on a range of charges, including murder.

Captain Eva, who has been off sick from work since January, has a bacterial infection of the heart which has resulted in extensive damage to his liver and kidneys.

“My husband is dying. He only has 30% use of his heart. He takes more than 11 tablets a day and has to drink water at regular intervals to help his kidneys.

“He is also on a low protein and low salt diet.”

Mrs Eva said policemen in charge of the holding cells told them they had strict instructions that no visitors were allowed.

“I pleaded with them to let me see him and give him his medication. They refused. I eventually handed it to them. It was searched. They said they would give it to him.”

Eva said at 5.30am on Wednesday, she and her two children had awakened to NIU officers pounding on their front door. Her husband had gone to join his colleagues at the unit’s head office on Victoria Embankment.

“They turned our house upside down. They removed paintings from the wall, stripped the beds, turned over couches and even went through the rubbish. My two children were traumatised.

“They eventually left at 9am with laptops, cameras, a blue police light and crime scene tape.”

Warrant Officer William Thabete’s wife, who would only identify herself as Mrs Thabete, said she was shocked at her husband’s arrest.

“My teenage children are devastated. We are very afraid...”

Police are believed to have spent hours at the home of Warrant Officer Mossie Mostert.

He was only taken to the holding cells after 10pm.

A source close to him said detectives had found files of meticulous records that Mostert had compiled over the years on the various crime scenes he had attended.

“They took hours at his house going through the documents.

“He was apparently interrogated at the Durban airwing before being taken to the cell.”

The members’ attorney, Carl van der Merwe, said early this morning that up until now he had not received any documentation from Hawks commander Major-General Jan Mabula about the arrests.

“I requested copies of the warrants and the list of members being charged and for what, but they have not supplied me with anything.”

Supporters of the Durban Organised Crime Unit Facebook page held a protest against the arrests of the members outside the Durban Magistrate’s Court this morning.

“Let’s show this unit and their families that we are here for them, we support them, and that we , because of them, have the strength to stand up with them.

“These men have put their lives on the line every day of their... adult lives for all of us.

“Lets thank them by showing them our support.

“Let’s keep today peaceful, civilised and remind this unit of why they need to stay strong, why they need to keep their heads held high and why they have to keep faith,” the supporters said on Facebook. - Daily News

*The 20 members arrested are operational commander Colonel Willie Olivier, Warrant Officers Paddy Padayachee, Mossie Mostert, Raymond Lee, Eric Nel, Ajith Ganesh, Shane Naidoo, Jeremy Marten, Wilbert Thabete, Peter George, Tata Mdlalose, Bongani Magwaza, Captains Neville Eva and Anton Lockham. Four members of the KZN NIU, known as Warrant Officers Dlamuka, Sikhulumi and Sergeants Godwane and Mfene. Two members, who have since left the police, Mac Makhanya and Bruce McInnes, were arrested in Pretoria.

Daily News


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