Charges dropped against KZN Hawks headComment on this story
Durban - Suspended KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Major-General Johan Booysen will be a “free” man from Monday, exonerated of all allegations that he ran a “death squad” when all charges are formally withdrawn against him in the Durban High Court.
Asked on Thursday if he wanted his job back, Booysen said: “It is not a case of getting it back. I was not fired. It was always mine.”
Booysen and his lawyer Carl van der Merwe confirmed they had official word that the new National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana did not wish to proceed with the racketeering case against him, although it was not clear what would happen to his co-accused, the former members of the Cato Manor organised crime unit who were standing trial with him.
Booysen, who was arrested and suspended in August 2012, won a major victory last month when Durban High Court Judge Trevor Gorven effectively stopped his prosecution, finding that then acting director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba had no evidence before her to sanction his prosecution on the racketeering charges.
Jiba claimed to have relied on four statements, but Judge Gorven said they were either unsigned, or did not implicate him in the charges.
The judge noted a “deafening silence” from her when challenged by Booysen to explain how she had authorised his prosecution.
Last week, the State lodged a notice for its intention to apply for leave to appeal against Judge Gorven’s ruling and Thursday was touted as the day when this would be argued.
But Van der Merwe said he had received a call on Wednesday saying the State was not pursuing its application.
Booysen, who is in Joburg, said the State had wanted him to come to court this week for the charges to be withdrawn but, because he was away, Monday had been settled on.
“From day one I knew I was facing trumped-up charges,” Booysen said. Regarding his 27 co-accused, the Cato Manor policemen – who are also all suspended – he said he believed they were just collateral damage.
“I was trained in investigation and prosecution of racketeering by the man who assisted in drafting our (South Africa’s) racketeering laws. He agrees there is no evidence relating to racketeering in the indictment – which he views as most sloppy – and in the statements we have been given.
“Our next attack will be to address this issue through various ways, including asking for further particulars and we may go for a quashing of the charges.
“But if the case proceeds, the indictment will have to be reformulated.”
Booysen said he now had to deal with a disciplinary inquiry, instituted belatedly just after argument before Judge Gorven, and 18 months after he was suspended.
He said the inquiry had started and he hoped it would resume and be finalised next month.
The NPA did not respond to questions sent by The Mercury.
However, a source said Nxasana was not convinced that an appeal could succeed.
The remaining accused are set to appear in the Durban High Court again in June.
Submissions not challenged
Judge Gorven said 23 dockets had been given to the defence to prepare for trial in which Booysen was only mentioned in two. Of 290 statements, only three made mention of him and the State had, in effect, conceded that no statements implicated him in a crime.
Of the four statements Jiba said she relied on, two by Colonel Rajan Aiyer concerned only ‘office politics’ and one was dated after her decision to authorise his prosecution so could not have been properly before her.
Another, by former reservist Aris Danikas, had not been signed or dated and its contents did not cover the period dealt with in the indictment.
The final one did not implicate Booysen in any offence.
The judge said these ‘factual submissions’ had been neither challenged nor explained by Jiba and he drew ‘an adverse inference’ to her.