SAPS must pay star R1.8m over shooting
JOHANNESBURG: A last-minute out-of-court settlement with hip-hop artist Khuli Chana will see the SAPS lose R1.8 million.
This was because police shot at him in a case of mistaken identity, then dragged his name through the mud.
This comes as new information emerged showing the incident could have been avoided entirely if not for some serious police bungling.
At about 1am on October 28, 2013, Chana – real name Khulani Morule – was shot at nine times by officers who had been on the lookout for the kidnapper of a Bedfordview businessman. Chana had been in a car similar to the one believed to have been driven by the suspect.
Police claimed he had not stopped in time when flagged down, prompting constables Sam Baloyi and Mduduzi Nzuza to open fire on his vehicle. Chana was hit in the hand and lost control of his car, which crashed down an embankment.
Chana was charged with attempted murder, but the charges were dropped in 2014, along with the attempted murder charges Chana had laid against Baloyi and Nzuza.
However, based on the negligence of the officers, Chana continued his civil claim against the minister of Police, then Nathi Mthethwa.
While an initial settlement was discussed in 2014, the case went to trial – two years later.
Yesterday morning in the high court in Johannesburg, it was revealed that Chana’s legal team, Mannie Witz, John Peter and Daniel Witz, had settled with the SAPS on two of the three claims.
Firstly, Chana was granted an amount of R1 565 827 for pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity and public humiliation.
The current Police minister, Nathi Nhleko, was also ordered to pay R250 000 for defamation after police sent out media statements claiming Chana had tried to kill the officers with his vehicle.
However, according to Mannie Witz, there is still an outstanding claim under negotiation: R516 638 for malicious prosecution after claims by the two officers that Chana had tried to kill them andcharging the hip-hop artist with attempted murder.
While Chana and his team were elated at the outcome, the lawyers revealed that the case would have been indefensible for the SAPS based on the facts.
According to Daniel Witz, one of the officers did not have a firearm competency certificate, meaning he should not have been allowed to fire at Chana or wield a firearm.
Another revelation was that the officers had allegedly already recovered the abducted businessman and arrested his kidnapper quite some time before police tried to detain Chana, meaning the shooting could have been avoided altogether.
A source close to the investigation also revealed the officers had allegedly booked out their firearms under incorrect names at Bedfordview police station, a further legal violation.
Queries about the officers’ conduct and the settlement have been sent to the SAPS national spokesperson, but remain unanswered.
Chana’s spokesperson, Thabile Manala, said: “He has remained professional amid the trauma, and acknowledges that the SAPS have been co-operative and taken a calm stance in the matter. He has accepted an apology from the SAPS.
"Chana believes the ordeal could have affected his income, but partners and brands that believe in his talent and integrity have rallied behind him and he has signed further deals.”
Chana said he was “thankful to be alive”.