South Africa

Age of the Assassin Analysis

SAPS policy is clear: Murdered Anti-Gang Unit commander Charl Kinnear more than qualified for police protection

Charl Kinnear warned that his life was in danger in a report he sent to Crime Intelligence head Peter Jacobs in December 2018. (Photo: Supplied)

Going by SAPS Security Policy, or Security Policy No 3 of 2019, Crime Intelligence would/should have swiftly evaluated the level and urgency of numerous death threats Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear reported to his superiors.

The Section Commander of the Anti-Gang Unit in the Western Cape, Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear, was assassinated on 20 September 2020. A lone gunman, who knew his exact movements, ambushed him outside his home in Bishop Lavis, Cape Town, and killed him.

Former professional rugby player Zane Killian, owner of a tracking company based in Springs, who traced Kinnear’s phone for months, has been charged with murder, conspiracy to murder and the illegal interception of communication.

Kinnear was spearheading a nationwide investigation into a gun licensing racket implicating known underworld figures as well as high-ranking SAPS officials. He had just returned from Springs with two dockets when he was murdered.

Kinnear had, in early 2019, alerted National Crime Intelligence head Peter Jacobs as well as IPID and other senior SAPS members, not only of the threats, but also of the deep entanglement of fellow officers with underworld figures in the Cape. These officers, said Kinnear, had openly interfered with investigations and had fabricated counter-complaints.

Jacobs, in response to Kinnear’s more than 50-page complaint, wrote to National Commissioner Khehla Sitole recommending the disbandment of a “rogue” Crime Intelligence unit that existed in the Western Cape and that members be criminally charged.

And there the matter remained clogged in the system.

Chapter 11 of the SAPS Security Policy, titled Employee Assistance and Protection, sets out that “the SAPS must, in instances of a threat to an employee or his or her family, make security measures available for the protection of the affected employee or his or her family”.

This protection, according to the policy, applies for all permanent and contract employees “who became victims of a threatening conduct as a result of their employment with SAPS”.

All affected employees must report these threats to their commanders within 24 hours, after which the policy makes provision for a threat assessment to be conducted by SAPS Crime Intelligence. This is “to determine the actual existence of the threat as well as the level of the threat”.

In his report to Jacobs, Kinnear named six officers who are attached to Crime Intelligence, led in the Western Cape by Major-General Mzwandile Tiyo. Two of these officers, said Kinnear, had claimed to work under Tiyo’s direct command.

Back in March 2019, after Kinnear’s complaint had become public, Brigadier Vish Naidoo told amaBhungane’s Caryn Dolley that National Commissioner Sitole had viewed Kinnear’s charges in a “very serious light”.

As a result, two senior officers were assigned to examine the charges and counter-charges at national level.

Eighteen months later Kinnear was murdered. His assassination was a brazen and challenging act by those who planned and executed it.

The murder has finally catapulted to centre stage the heart of the problem within SAPS — deeply corrupt officials at every level who collude with organised criminals, dodgy businessmen, and crooked minor and major politicians.

Kinnear’s disturbing of this nest of vipers cost him his life.

According to SAPS policy, the level of the threat to a member would “guide the SAPS on which measures to be implemented, to ensure the safety of the employee”.

You would think two assailants armed with hand grenades arrested outside your house would be a Code Red in terms of the threat to Kinnear’s life. That was November 2019 and security was deployed to secure the area around Kinnear’s home. But in December 2019 this was suddenly withdrawn.

Over and above the initial assessment by Crime Intelligence, the SAPS Security Management Unit and SAPS Security Advisory Services are required, guided by policy, to conduct a “physical security appraisal on the private residence or primary place of residence”.

However, upgrades at a member’s house would have to be carried personally as “the SAPS will not pay for any security measures (initial or upgrades) at private residences”.

Where the threat level is regarded as serious enough, “personal protection will be provided at the discretion of the SAPS”, reads the policy. Personal protection “must be provided on a 24-hourly basis until relevant security intelligence structures advise otherwise”.

The operative words here are “at the discretion of the SAPS” and that security would be provided “until relevant intelligence structures advise otherwise”.

In Kinnear’s case, it should be easy to trace the chain of command in the decision to remove his protection in December 2019.

For SAPS members working in a country ranked 123 out of 163 in the latest Global Peace Index, the safety of officers should be of primary concern, particularly in a country with a violent crime rate as high as South Africa’s.

Kinnear is one of several SAPS members murdered in 2020. In 2018/19, 77 officers were killed compared with 85 in 2017/18, according to SAPS Crime Stats.

The purpose of the SAPS Security Policy, or Policy No 3 of 2019, is to guide and regulate all aspects of the security of members.

“The SAPS depends on its personnel and assets to deliver services that are commensurate with the health, safety, security and economic wellbeing of South African citizens,” reads the policy introduction.

This protection and assistance, according to the policy, “must apply to all permanent and contract employees who became victims of a threatening conduct as a result of their employment with the SAPS”.

Pity that the policy was not applied to Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear. DM


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  • This story is alarming. It could only mean one thing. Those in the police with gangster ties, many of theme very senior (the bosses), will go out of their way to silence the better policemen from exposing them. Pieter Louis Myburgh book, “Gangster State”, also apply here. And the biggest gangster, the very top, the Minister?!

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