Durban - ‘You can’t help but wonder, what is going on at the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) offices? What is driving them?”
This was how Dr Johan Burger – a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies’ Crime, Justice and Politics Programme – reacted to news on Wednesday that racketeering charges had been re-instituted against the former provincial head of the Hawks, Johan Booysen.
NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku early on Wednesday confirmed Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shaun Abrahams’s decision.
He said the DPP had considered the evidence in Booysen’s docket and had concluded the State had a prima facie case against him.
He would not elaborate on the nature of the evidence, or say whether or not it was new evidence.
Mfaku said Booysen would report to the Durban Organised Crime Unit early Friday morning for processing.
Booysen’s legal counsel and the State have already discussed the issue of bail and it would be addressed on Friday when he appears in the Durban High Court alongside his 27 former colleagues of the now defunct Cato Manor Organised Crime Unit.
They were all arrested in 2012 on multiple counts of racketeering and murder, and were accused of having operated a death squad under Booysen’s command.
Booysen successfully had these charges set aside by the Durban High Court in 2014, when it found Abrahams’ deputy Nomgcobo Jiba’s decision to institute them was irrational.
“This just looks like a continuation of an ongoing attempt to get rid of him (Booysen),” Burger said on Wednesday.
“I have no idea what the basis for recharging him is,” he went on. “The court already said (referring to the initial charges) that there was no case. So they can’t charge him based on the same evidence.”
New evidence would have to be brought forward, Burger said. “But we have no idea what, if any, evidence that could be.”
Burger said it was interesting that Booysen was being charged at the same time as Glynnis Breytenbach.
The NPA this month brought charges against Breytenbach, a former senior prosecutor, for allegedly refusing to hand in a work-issue laptop and “wiping it clean” while she was the subject of an internal investigation several years ago.
Burger hoped that the official presiding over Booysen’s case would use the opportunity to discourage the wasting of the courts’ time.
Booysen has scuppered various charges over the past few years.
After the murder and racketeering charges against him were withdrawn, the Deputy DPP, Nomgcobo Jiba, was charged with perjury emanating from her decision to charge Booysen.
He was also exonerated from departmental charges and returned to work, but in September Booysen was suspend-ed over a fraud allegation.
He successfully challenged this in the Durban High Court and in papers, called it “yet another attempt to stop (him) investigating corruption involving senior police officers, and KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner, Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni.”
Booysen headed investigations into Ngobeni’s relationship with Durban businessman, Thoshan Panday, who was accused of having bankrolled a lavish birthday party for the commissioner’s husband, and of involvement in a R60 million corruption case involving an accommodation tender scam during the Soccer World Cup.
Judge Anton van Zyl felt there was a strong suggestion there was an ongoing move, “possibly even a campaign to unseat” Booysen.
The Hawks application for leave to appeal the decision was dismissed and would now be taken on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal.