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The “Cato Manor 18” – the policemen arrested and charged last week with more than 70 offences relating to allegations that they operated as a death squad – were back at work on Monday.
“They are carrying on as normal,” their lawyer Carl van der Merwe, said.
The men – all of whom were based at the now disbanded Cato Manor organised crime unit – were each granted bail of R5 000 by Durban regional court magistrate Sharon Marks on Friday, in spite of tough opposition from the State.
They were ordered not to interfere with witnesses and would appear in court again at the end of August.
Since the investigation into the death squad allegations was launched six months ago, the men have not been handed any new dockets to investigate, but it emerged during their bail application that all had cases before courts in which they were required to testify.
A source told The Mercury on Monday that the men would lose two days’ pay because they had been automatically suspended while in custody last week after being arrested in dawn raids on Wednesday and kept in cells for two nights. But they had been reinstated, with benefits, yesterday morning.
“If police management want to suspend them again, they will have to give them notice and an opportunity to resist... one cannot suspend them as a punishment – there has to be a good reason. And if they are suspended again, it will have to be on full pay,” the source said. “They are innocent until proven guilty.”
In their affidavits before the court, the men denied all the allegations against them and said they would plead not guilty to all the charges.
They are Willie Olivier, Paul Mostert, Neville Eva, Adriaan Stolz, Eric Nel, Adjithsingh Ghaness, Phumeleka Makhyanya, Gonasagren Padayachee, Peter George, Thembinkosi Mkhwanazi, Mlabunzima Thabethe, Thathayiphi Mdlalose, Johnny Smith, Jeremy Marten, Shane Naidoo, Raymond Lee, Anton Lockem and Bruce McInnes. -