‘Death squad’ cops to seek bailComment on this story
A Durban High Court judge has ordered that the bail hearing of 20 members of the now disbanded Durban Organised Crime Unit be heard on Thursday.
The 20 were arrested on Wednesday by a team of 60 people, who also searched the police officers' homes and work places. They face charges ranging from murder and the unlawful possession of ammunition, to theft and assault.
Lawyers for the men had sought an urgent interdict to have their arrests declared unlawful.
However, Judge Trevor Gorven ordered that their bail hearing take place in the Durban Regional Court on Thursday. Usually, bail hearings are not heard on an accused person's first court appearance.
The application for the arrests to be declared unlawful was adjourned indefinitely. The arrests were part of a joint operation by the Hawks and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
Three members were arrested in Gauteng Ä two in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, and one on the West Rand. The rest were arrested in various locations around Durban.
The unit's commanding officer Maj-Gen Johan Booysen, who was also the KwaZulu-Natal boss of the Hawks, was not one of the 20.
Those arrested were taken to the SA Police Service air wing at the old Durban International Airport. None of them resisted arrest, Polela said.
Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini said 15 investigators had been probing various complaints since December last year. Polela said a quantity of counterfeit money was also seized during the arrests.
The unit was shut down in February amid allegations that an alleged death squad operated in the Cato Manor crime unit. Most of its members had since been incorporated into the Hawks.
Booysen was issued with a notice of suspension in March, but it was later set aside. He faced allegations of negligence, or failing to act in connection with the alleged death squad. - Sapa