South Africa


SAPS threw Charl Kinnear to the wolves

SAPS threw Charl Kinnear to the wolves
Nicolette Kinnear with her sons Carlisle and Casleigh at the one-year memorial lecture of Lt Col Charl Kinnear in Bishop Lavis on September 18, 2021 in Cape Town, South Africa. The anti-gang unit detective was assassinated outside his home in Bishop Lavis on 18 September last year. (Photo: Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

The day a still-to-be apprehended assassin aimed his gun at Anti-Gang Unit commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear and killed him, was a turning point in exposing the deep nexus between organised crime and law enforcement in South Africa.



The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has just completed a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances leading up to and surrounding Kinnear’s assassination outside his home in Bishop Lavis on 18 September 2020.

The investigation was prompted after Kinnear’s murder and the public outcry which followed when it was revealed that the decorated detective had been left vulnerable and exposed by his employer, SAPS.

Ipid’s explosive report should result in a major shake-up in the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks, the structure of the AGU and elsewhere in SAPS where officials have been found to have acted improperly or criminally.

The consequences of Kinnear’s murder are set out in no uncertain terms and could result in the collapse of those high-profile cases he was still investigating.

Kinnear knew too much, he told his superiors, as they tread water while attempting to navigate through a fog of lethal “factionalism” in the SAPS in the Western Cape.

Elsewhere on these pages, Caryn Dolley unpacks each element of the significant findings and recommendations of the Ipid report.

Kinnear’s murder had been meticulously planned and the killers had illegally used a cellphone tracking location-based service known as a “ping” to track his every move.

Former rugby player and debt collector, Zane Kilian, as well as an underworld figure, Nafiz Modack, are among those who have since been charged for Kinnear’s murder. The matter is still making its way through the courts.

What the murder of Kinnear also exposed is the role of cellphone networks and private security in the illegal surveillance of SAPS officials as well as private citizens.

The Ipid report has vindicated Kinnear, as well as former Crime Intelligence head, Peter Jacobs and Western Cape detective boss, Jeremy Vearey’s long-standing attempt at flushing out a “rogue unit” in the Western Cape Crime Intelligence Division.


Read more in Ipid Report on Police series:


Prior to his murder, Kinnear, who was working single-handedly on at least 20 cases involving illegal gun licences, corrupt SAPS colleagues and prominent organised crime figures had circulated in 2018 a 59-page memorandum to his superiors informing them his life was in danger.

He set out how a rogue Crime Intelligence unit in the Western Cape, consisting of at least six members, had been targeting SAPS colleagues, interfering with investigations and acting criminally by colluding with underworld figures. The unit had targeted Kinnear, Vearey, Jacobs and other SAPS members.

Jacobs later recommended to Sitole and his superiors that the Western Cape unit, under the command of Major General Mzwandile Tiyo, be disbanded and some members criminally charged.

Jacobs, before his suspension by Sitole, in fact wrote at the time that “It is the considered view of this office that the existence of the team in its operations and reporting line, outside of the prescribed structure, has served to undermine the integrity of the office of the Division Crime Intelligence and possibly the person of the divisional commissioner, Lieutenant-General Jacobs.”

What the Ipid investigation sets out is that all of the evidence and the warnings to SAPS top brass were either ignored, not acted upon or acted upon when almost too late.

It exposes deep investigative weaknesses, broken chains of command, insufficient experience among AGU staff including its commander, Andre Lincoln, as well as a lack of a sense of urgency with regard to hugely pressing matters in a national investigation.

The consequences for all concerned extend beyond SAPS to the family of Kinnear, his wife Nicolette and his sons Casleigh and Carlisle, who lived with the constant fear and threats and who have rightly criticised SAPS for literally throwing Kinnear to the wolves. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    I don’t understand why officers haven’t been moved and locked up somewhere secure so that the impact of criminals in SAPS is contained and that people are seen to be urgently and visibly brought to book. The cost of all this to public confidence in SAPS, little that remained, is that it’s shattered completely. There doesn’t seem to be any urgency on the part of SAPS, its managers, the minister or even the presidency to take a lead. Why is that? This is an urgent national emergency.

    • Paddy Ross says:

      Dennis, your comment is somewhat naive. Zuma and his fellow criminals hollowed out all the state institutions that were set up to stop crime, and it has become apparent that SAPS was included in this corrupt policy. Because of this, the likes of Kinnear, Vearey, Jacobs, and Lincoln have been thwarted by their supposed colleagues in SAPS in their fight against crime. Currently, the “baddies” have the upper hand within SAPS hence the “baddies” can free range.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.