Mystery shrouds ‘hit’ on Anti Gang Unit cop Charl Kinnear
Cape Town - A veil of secrecy surrounds the fatal shooting of Anti- Gang Unit section commander Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear, who was killed outside his home in Bishop Lavis.
The 52-year-old had been working on several high-profile investigations and was the investigating officer in an extortion case involving alleged underworld figures Nafiz Modack and Colin Booysen, the murder case of biker boss Tim Lotter and the murder case of Cape Town advocate Pete Mihalik.
Kinnear had been under police protection until December 19 last year.
At a press briefing outside the Kinnear home yesterday, police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa would not comment on why the protection detail had been withdrawn.
Mayco member for Community Safety JP Smith said: “No person is safe. If SAPS staff can’t be protected, how can the community be protected?”
Photographs showed the policeman’s body in the driver’s seat of a white Toyota Corolla. He appeared to have been shot through the window, which was smashed.
A statement from national police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said Kinnear’s work had resulted in multiple arrests.
National commissioner General Khehla John Sitole expressed outrage.
“General Sitole has tasked the provincial commissioner of the Western Cape Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata to immediately launch the 72-hour activation plan.
“This is a plan to mobilise critical departments including crime intelligence, forensic experts, the Hawks and tactical units to ensure that evidence or information that could assist in the successful investigation of this case is not lost,” said Naidoo.
“We are all saddened by this tragic and untimely loss of Colonel Kinnear and his murder is a huge loss to South
Africa and its people,” added Naidoo.
The street on which Kinnear lived was cordoned off and neighbours were reluctant to speak to the media.
Speculation is rife that Kinnear may have been the victim of a “hit”, but this has not been confirmed. The Hawks are investigating the matter.
Potelwa said Kinnear sustained several shots to his upper body and was certified dead by paramedics.
“He investigated several high-profile cases in the Western Cape and had just over 30 years of experience as a police official,” said Potelwa.
Western Cape Major-General Jeremy Vearey, who worked alongside Kinnear in the AGU, on Friday said he was not in a position to comment on the matter.
Earlier this year, Kinnear’s wife, Nicolette, told Independent Media she was afraid her family would be shot after police protection had been withdrawn. She said her worst fears had been confirmed on November 23 when police guarding their house apprehended a suspect in possession of a hand grenade in front of their house in January.
“A week before the (January) attack, the existence of the hit list came to light and we were immediately placed under 24-hour police guard. You don’t sleep and the slightest noise awakens you,” said Kinnear’s wife at the time.
Their road was cordoned off and they were instructed by police that they had to wait for the bomb squad to arrive. Police first arrested Faeez Smith outside Kinnear’s home and later arrested a second suspect, Amaal Jantjies. The pair faced a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
Nicolette said the police officers who were guarding their home had been withdrawn on December 19. She alleged the family had not been consulted by police management about the decision.
“I feel disappointed and betrayed as we are in this space because of my husband doing his job,” she said earlier this year. “Our family is no longer protected and I don’t think these people realise what it does to a mother to see your kids freeze at the sound of breaking glass or gunshots on the TV.
“My husband was trained to fall on to the floor if shots are fired at our house and how to deal with dangerous situations.”
Smith said: “He was a father and a husband. My deepest condolences to his family. This shows how brave these attackers have become. It can’t be business as usual, something dramatic needs to happen.”
Mayor Dan Plato condemned the shooting. “It was with shock that I heard about the killing of South African Police Service Detective Charl Kinnear today. Kinnear took pride in his duties and carried out his investigations without fear or favour. I send my condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and loved ones.”
Kinnear’s killing came just a day after an off-duty police officer was shot metres away from his four children in Khayelitsha.
Colonel Athlenda Mathe said 35 SAPS members were killed on duty during the last financial year.