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Johannesburg - Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen says he believes former police minister Nathi Mthethwa was behind the move to suspend him in 2012. 

Booysen returned to the stand on Thursday and detailed his series of suspensions while he was the head of the Hawks in KZN. 

His first suspension surfaced after the Sunday Times published a series of photos which linked Booysen as the head of a Hawks “death squad” named the “Cato Manor death squad” in December 2011. 

He says a few months later in February 2012 he received a letter informing him to detail why he should be suspended. He said following back and forth exchanges between him and Saps officials he was eventually suspended. 

He said the suspension came from former Hawks head Anwar Dramat. However, Booysen believes Dramat was under immense pressure to suspend him and he believes Mthethwa was behind the move. 

“In my view de facto it was him (Dramat), but you could see that it was someone else. I firmly believe that General Dramat was under pressure to suspend me from then Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa,” said Booysen.

Booysen said police procedure requires that a suspended official should face a disciplinary hearing within 60 days of suspension, yet in his case, about 600 days had elapsed when his hearing began.

The hearing was chaired by Advocate Nazeer Cassim and he cleared Booysen of all charges and stated that he was the victim of a political battle.

Booysen said shortly before he was set to return to work in 2014, he was called into a meeting with former national police commissioner Riah Phiyega. 

Phiyega gave him three options which would have resulted in him relinquishing his position as the head of the Hawks in KZN.

“General Riah Pyega called me to her office and gave me three options, either I remained at home on special leave or I should take a transfer or I should take section 35; “a golden handshake”. I had three years left in the police service and she was prepared to pay me for those three years. At that time I had been sitting at home for three years and tax payers would have had to pay for me sitting at home for five years. She also said she would be taking Cassim up on review,” said Booysen.

The general said a month later in 2014 he again met with Phiyega and told her he was not willing to accept any of her offers. He said Phiyega had already printed out documents from the finance department for him to sign. 

“This time she had documents from finances ready for me to sign. I said to her option number one is not an option and I said I won’t transfer. And she said if she instructs me to transfer, I won’t follow it? I said if she transfers me I will take the matter to court,” said Booysen.

Booysen said he was later told by Dramat that Phiyega had suggested that he take two weeks leave before heading back to work. Booysen said it was clear that they did not want him back work.

He said he took the two weeks leave, but opted to return at work.

Booysen was later suspended again in 2015 when former Hawks boss Berning Ntlemeza was appointed as acting head of the Hawks.

The inquiry continues.

IOL