Charges against Loonat dropped

Cape Town - Charges of intimidation against Hanif Loonat were provisionally withdrawn in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Former community policing forum chairman Hanif Loonat. Photo: Tracey Adams. Credit: INLSA

Now the former community policing forum chairman is calling for a full investigation into his “wrongful arrest” and plans to sue the police for damages.

Loonat was arrested in February and spent three days in custody before being released on R5 000 bail. He was charged after visiting a woman’s house and allegedly threatening her.

At Loonat’s bail hearing, the court heard that he and his co-accused, Hamid Adams, visited the home of Rukshana Parker and threatened to sabotage her job and harm her children. After these allegations were published, Parker contacted the Cape Argus to set the record straight. She denied that she had made the allegations in her affidavit to police. Loonat had merely been relaying a threatening message to her from a former employer with whom she had a feud.

But Parker is not happy.

”It would have been unfair for Loonat to have been accused of things he did not say, but the threats against me were real and no one has been brought to book,” she said on Tuesday.

Loonat believes the charges against him were part of an attempt by high-ranking police officials in the Claremont cluster to tarnish his name, after he had previously reported them for mismanagement.

“In a way, I regret that this case never came to trial. Had it done so, a lot of unsavoury details about (certain officers) in Claremont police… would have come to light,” he said. “I will, however, be requesting a full internal investigation from the police.”

Loonat said he would sue the police for damages, stress caused to his family, and the three days he spent in “appalling” conditions in the police holding cells. Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said that in the light of Loonat pursuing civil action, the police would not comment.

The National Prosecuting Authority said further investigation was needed before any charges against Loonat could be reinstated.