The head of police’s Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) André Lincoln has come under fire following a scathing letter he wrote to provincial police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency

Cape Town - The head of police’s Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) André Lincoln has come under fire following a scathing letter he wrote to provincial police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula. In it he asked for the removal of two high-ranking AGU members who sanctioned the botched raid in Samora Machel informal settlement, in which six members of the unit were wounded during a shoot-out.

In the letter, Lincoln said he knew nothing of the raid and that it was approved without any operational plan. The operation was carried out a day after Police Minister Bheki Cele met with Samora Machel residents, and according to Lincoln’s letter was planned “by Colonel Ngubane and Colonel Mkabele” on the same day Cele met with the residents.

Top sources within the police alleged that Jula was running a parallel unit called the major offences reaction team, staffed by associates and friends of his from KwaZulu-Natal.

The officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that since Jula took over as provincial police commissioner following the eight-year jail sentence of his predecessor Arno Lamoer, he had systematically replaced the top brass with KZN officials.

“Jula has appointed close to 30 KZN officers in the top positions and surrounded himself with people close to him. None of our senior police officers were part of the panel who conducted the interviews. 

“Jula started by keeping (Major-General) Jeremy Veary and (Lieutenant-General) Peter Jacobs out of his team, who were both sidelined by the promotions of Major-General Patrick Mbotho and Major-General Mzwandile Tiyo.

“Both Veary and Jacobs took Jula to the Labour Court and had their demotion overturned. Then Jula had the heads of finance and human resources replaced. Jula’s next target is Lincoln, to get him out of the AGU,” the sources said.

They also raised concerns about the establishment of major offences reaction team and said they found it strange the team was running parallel to the AGU. This, according to the police sources, led to further division within SAPS in the province.

Police Minister Bheki Cele’s spokesperson, Reneilwe Serero said Cele was not aware at the time of his visit to Samora Machel of the Anti-Gang Unit operation. Serero said Cele is also not aware of the Lincoln’s letter.

“Cele was not aware about the letter requesting the removal of officers placed at the AGU and instituting disciplinary measures. No letter has been addressed to the minister about any dissatisfaction with regards to the AGU,” Serero said.

Provincial police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said: “Be informed that Major General Oswald Reddy has been appointed by the Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Mpumelelo Manci to investigate all issues pertaining to the attack of AGU members in Samora Machel last Wednesday. The investigation will also include recent allegations about some SAPS members that surfaced in media reports. It is requested that the investigation be allowed space to reach finality.”

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