Durban - Major-General Johan Booysen, the suspended KZN Hawks head, is grabbing headlines again – and this time, it is because of his book, Blood On Their Hands, that he has just released.
The queues are out the door and it is standing room only at his various book launches – just as it was at The Book Boutique in his home town of eManzimtoti on Tuesday night, when his tell-all account of his ongoing legal battle with the National Director of Public Prosecutions was snapped up.
Bookstore owner, Kerry Snel, had ordered 120 copies and there was such demand that they were all gone in record time, although she was expecting to be resupplied on Thursday.
“This is the most we have sold at a single launch,” she said.
With reports of “sold out” coming in from all over the country, and with media lining up to interview Booysen and journalist and author Jessica Pitchford, who co-wrote the bestseller with him, Booysen himself is amazed at the reaction.
“I was a bit sceptical, although I was assured by so many people that it would do well. However, I am just overwhelmed by the response,” he said yesterday as his TV interview with eNCA was re-run throughout the day.
Booysen, who was head of the now-disbanded Cato Manor Serious and Violent Crimes Unit, had been charged along with dozens of his former colleagues of running a criminal enterprise, charges that they deny. And some were at his eManzimtoti launch this week.
Penny Katz, founder of the Cato Manor Supporters Group, was there too, just as she had been at the many court appearances down the years.
Booysen, who wrote the book to clear his name, expects to update it in later editions, as the ongoing battle with the National Prosecuting Authority unfolds.
And there will definitely be a reprint, as Pan Macmillan, the publishers, said on Wednesday that they were down to the last stocks in their warehouse.
Although Booysen had successfully had the decision by the former acting (now deputy head) of the NPA, Nomgcobo Jiba, to authorise racketeering charges against him set aside in Durban High Court – Judge Trevor Gorven found there was no evidence before Jiba to warrant the charges – they have since been reinstated.
The synopsis of Booysen’s book says that when he “hears that the new provincial police chief takes backhanders from a Durban businessman, he decides to give her the benefit of the doubt.
“But the evidence becomes impossible to ignore and he soon gets dragged down the corridors of power and politics into a web of intrigue, deceit and betrayal that, at times, he has trouble making sense of.”
It was only when he was arrested, handcuffed and tossed into a cell that he realised “just how ruthless those opposed to him are”.
It was an opposition he called the “cabal”, whom he believed had more blood on their hands that the so-called Cato Manor “death squad”.
Asked about the reaction to the book from the NPA, Pitchford said: “I think they are still reading it.”