Maverick Citizen


Common cellphone tracking service used in ambush and murder of top policeman Kinnear

Common cellphone tracking service used in ambush and murder of top policeman Kinnear
Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear. (Photo: Noor Slamdien)

Those who plotted the shooting of Anti-Gang Unit Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear ‘used a Location Based Service’ to track the detective’s cellphone, enabling the triggerman to ambush him outside his home and kill him.

This is the view of John Alexander, an investigator at Royal Investigations, who based his conclusion on information that Kinnear’s phone had been tracked since May 2020. Police were able to obtain the Location Based Service (LBS) trace.

Alexander said that SAPS intelligence had the software to conduct an LBS track as would a private individual who had a licence to conduct an LBS search.

So far, it appears that a sophisticated “grabber” or IMSI-catcher was not used to trace Kinnear or other Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) members’ cellphones. A grabber would not have left a forensic footprint, unlike an LBS track.

“It is illegal to obtain or have a grabber in your possession. This is a sophisticated piece of equipment which could be valuable to someone who is looking to intercept information and dates,” Alexander said.

He explained that LBS tracking worked by providing coordinates in relation to a cellphone tower in relation, in turn, to the location of the user.

“The target would not be aware of their phone being tracked. This is commonly known as triangular plotting or mapping.”

To trace a phone, the tracker needed to buy units and in the case of Kinnear’s phone, which police say was tracked 2,116 times from 5 May 2020 and 18 September, the tracker either had a contract or a corporate account, given the amount of tracking that had been conducted. AGU boss Andre Lincoln’s phone was tracked at least 50 times.

“This amount of tracking would have caused suspicion, especially the 2,000 units purchased to trace Kinnear, Lincoln and two other AGU members — and this can be traced by the investigators,” said Alexander.

As to whether the SAPS and Crime Intelligence had the technical expertise to detect such illegal tracking in the case of Kinnear, Lincoln and the other AGU members, Alexander said:

“Yes, SAPS has the authority to subpoena the records which could lead to the origin of who requested and conducted the trace on Kinnear’s phone.”

Anyone with malicious intentions could easily obtain any target’s location within five minutes, he said.

Kinnear was assassinated around 3pm in front of his house at 10 Gearing Road, Bishop Lavis. On the day of the murder, his phone was tracked from 8am till 3.25pm. When Kinnear stopped in front of his house he called his son inside the house to move his car.

As he waited, gunmen drove up and opened fire on Kinnear, delivering several fatal shots to his head. The timing of the assassination pointed to an LBS track. Investigators of the assassination are combing through Kinnear’s probe into underworld figures in a search for clues and links.

A week before his death, Kinnear was in Springs continuing his investigation into alleged underworld boss Nafiz Modack. Kinnear was also investigating eight high-ranking police officers accused of colluding with fellow officers at the Central Firearm Registry in order to produce firearm licences unlawfully. 

Kinnear returned to Cape Town with two extortion dockets implicating two underworld figures. He was scheduled to return to Gauteng to arrest two brigadiers in connection with the gun licensing scheme. 

With at least 10 rotten police officers accused of aiding and abetting gangsters, the possibility of police involvement in the assassination cannot be excluded.

On Tuesday 15 September 2020, in the Western Cape High Court, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlope found two Valhalla Park gangsters, Ashwin Willemse, alias, “Krag” and Waylin Abdullah, alias “Wena” guilty of murdering Gregory Carelse on 18 October 2018 on the corner of Barracuda Crescent and Kasteelberg Road, Nooitgedacht, Bishop Lavis.

Sterling investigation by Kinnear played a pivotal role in the successful conviction and during his testimony in this matter, the detective told the court the predominant gang in Valhalla Park was the 28s under the leadership of Ralph Stanfield.

A year earlier, on 17 June 2017, Carelse had observed a drive-by shooting in Forel Street, Valhalla Park, which claimed the lives of three people. Another suspect, Craig Stanfield, a relative of the alleged leader of the 28s gang in Valhalla Park, was arrested in that matter.

Ralph Stanfield, his wife Nicole Johnson, his sister, Francisca and three ex-police officers are facing charges relating to obtaining gun licences unlawfully. Stanfield lodged an appeal, but it was dismissed by the SCA on 2 December 2019. The court found Stanfield was not entitled to possess these firearms. The trial was set to start in March 2020.

On 14 November 2019, a week before a foiled hand grenade attack at Kinnear’s house, Colonel Andre Kay died in a hail of bullets in Bishop Lavis, not far from Kinnear’s house. Speculation at the time was that the killing of Kay was a case of mistaken identity and that Kinnear had been the intended target.

A reliable source told Maverick Citizen that this element was now part of the investigation into Kinnear’s murder. The most pressing issue still is who initially gave approval for protection at Kinnear’s house after the hand grenade incident on 23 November and who later withdrew this protection on 19 December 2019.

Senior police officers and colleagues told Maverick Citizen that as far as they were aware there had been no official approval granted, but they were puzzled about who issued the instruction for the withdrawal of Kinnear’s security detail.

If the investigation into Kinnear’s murder requires Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole to provide answers in this regard, it could open Pandora’s box and possibly provide proof of police collusion with underworld figures.

Meanwhile, more than 120 hours have elapsed since Kinnear’s brazen assassination on Friday 18 September and neither the Hawks nor SAPS have made any arrests. The alleged gunman wore a hoodie which covered most of his face on the day of the shooting.

Bishop Lavis Community Policing Forum spokesperson Graham Lindhorst said:

“Yes, the news we have received indicated that the suspect’s face was partially covered. 

“Residents have come forward with information of a possible suspect and the name was given to police. We hope that police will make a breakthrough in this case.”

Meanwhile, Kinnear’s colleagues said they hoped the investigation would not end up cold, as with the shooting of Kay. A suspect was arrested in connection with Kay’s murder but later was released. No one has since been arrested.

The Hawks or the police didn’t respond to an inquiry on the progress of the investigation into Kinnear’s murder, or whether any positive leads had been received. DM/MC


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • James Leroy says:

    It’s truly mind-blowing! There is serious corruption in every single facet of government. From the very top to the very bottom. I really believe this country has had enough resources in the past quarter of a century to successfully address the poverty problems we have faced. But those resources have instead been plundered by the ANC (and only the ANC) who blame the very people who provided these resources for their failures!

    • Michael Grummitt says:

      Agreed @Jeremy Whatmore. There has been enough financial and Human Resources in the country to fix the problems in the past 26 years, corruption allied with cadre deployment have destroyed any chance at alleviating poverty and fixing broken infrastructure. The ANC simply rotate failures through the system.

  • Frans Ferreira says:

    I fear this investigation will also come to nothing. It seems that Vincent knows more than the police. For starters why are the police dragging their feet in connection with the LBS tracking. Minister Cele must use his time on better things than speaking in Zulu about farmers armed to the teeth.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    If you still doubt that the government is a basket of foul apples, just read this article. Instead of harassing people for minor infringements, e.g. Covid regulations. Minister Cele should focus on REAL crime.

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