Cop, detectives held for vagrant’s murder
Cape Town - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate has been called on to investigate the strangulation of a homeless man in a Kraaifontein street after two private investigators and a policewoman face being charged with his murder.
The three were due to appear in Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The murdered man was Elgin Bester, 34, who had been living at the Kraaifontein Haven night shelter for 19 days before the murder on Friday.
Police spokesman Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana confirmed the murder and said a woman was with the two men when they allegedly assaulted Bester. “Three suspects were arrested on the crime scene and detained at Kraaifontein police station,” Kinana said.
“They will appear in Blue Downs court (today). The two male suspects, aged 58 and 63, are allegedly private investigators and the female suspect, 54, is a police officer from Sea Point police. The police officer was on duty at the time of the incident.”
Hassan Kahn, the Haven’s chief executive officer, on Monday morning said: “At around 6.30am on Friday he was on his way to work for ‘Straat Werk’ (a top-up cleaning service for city streets which pays R50 for a day’s work) when he was approached for questioning by two men.
“We have heard that the men were investigators who wanted to question Elgin in connection with a crime. Elgin’s status as a homeless person therefore does not seem to have played a major role in how he was treated. Rather, it was because he appears to have been a possible suspect in a crime.”
The murder took place in Van Der Ross Street near the shelter and Eikefontein Station. The two men allegedly assaulted Bester, tied his hands with cable ties and strangled him to death with the policewoman present.
Kahn condemned the attack on one of the Haven’s clients and said the Haven community, especially those living and working in Kraaifontein, had been “shaken” by the murder. A social worker has been sent to the shelter to provide psychological counselling and support.
“This is sad, because the fact that Elgin was working (for Straat Werk) indicates that he was on a path to turning his life around, becoming self-sufficient and rehabilitated into society,” said Kahn.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato has condemned the murder and called on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to investigate.
“The allegations against a police officer contained in reports on this murder are shocking,” he said.
“This is not how we want to see our police behave, and I will raise this at my weekly meeting with (provincial police commissioner) Lieutenant General Arno Lamoer tomorrow. Saps need to give a commitment that this matter is being viewed in a serious light, and being properly investigated.”