Further charges expected for ‘Hit squad’

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iol news pic cato manor cops 1 INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS File: Arrested members of Cator Manor Organised Crime Unit arrive at SAPS Airwing unit. Picture: Marilyn Bernard

More charges could be brought against ten of the 18 members of the disbanded Cato Manor branch of the Durban Organised Crime Unit, the Durban Regional Court heard on Friday.

Colonel Frans Khola told the court he was “preparing affidavits and will soon have them arrested on that matter”.

Khola said the charges would relate to investigations involving taxi violence.

Khola was speaking at the bail hearing of 18 officers who were arrested in connection with alleged hit squad activities in the Durban Organised Crime Unit based at Cato Manor.

Charges against two other officers were withdrawn on Thursday.

Khola said under cross-examination that although some of the officers were not directly involved in the alleged murders, they had been charged with murder.

He said this was because they were part of the operation that resulted in the deaths of suspects.

“This is all about common purpose.”

It emerged that one of the officers -- Johnny Smith -- was not even a member of the Cato Manor unit at the time of the 2008 murder for which he is accused. He was part of the police's gambling unit.

Khola admitted that there was no ballistic evidence linking Smith to the crime scene, saying Smith had been placed at the crime scene by other members of the Cato Manor unit.

There was a heavy security presence at the court.

Ten heavily armed police officers were present at the court, which was again filled with relatives of the 18 officers of the Durban Organised Crime unit.

The 18 face 71 charges which include 14 charges of murder, 14 of unlawful possession of ammunition, 14 of unlawful possession of firearms, and four of house-breaking.

One of the 18 men -- Rubendren “Shane” Naidoo -- arrived late after visiting the funeral parlour to pay his last respects to his 27-year old brother, who had recently died.

Police officers did not allow anyone to stand in the public gallery and ejected people from court.

The 18 men who appeared in court on Friday are:

Gonasagern Padayachee, 44, Adriaan Stolz, 51, Paul Mostert, 51, Eric Nel, 41, Captain Neville Eva, 45, Adjithsingh Ghaness, 41, Phumelela Makhanya, 45, Willem Ollivier, 59, Peter George, 51, Thembinkosi Mkhwanazi, 47, Mhlabunzima Thabethe, 49, Thathayiphi Mdlalose, 48, Charles “Johnny” Smith, 40, Jeremy Marten, 39, Rubendren “Shane” Naidoo, 33, Raymond Lee, 31, Anton Lockem, 44, and Bruce McInness, 43.


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