First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

South Africa

IPID FILES ON POLICE

‘Kinnear case officer went over and above duties’ — Hawks head Godfrey Lebeya hits back

Head of the Hawks Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Alaister Russell)

Daily Maverick reported last week that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate found that two Hawks cops should be criminally charged for failing to act when Cape Town detective Charl Kinnear’s cellphone was illegally tracked before his assassination. Hawks’ head Godfrey Lebeya, however, says there is ‘ignorance’ about how officers conduct investigations.

A warrant officer attached to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), better known as the Hawks, went all-out to alert key colleagues about the threat to Lt-Col Charl Kinnear’s life.

This is according to Hawks’ head Godfrey Lebeya. National Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Thandi Mbambo conveyed Lebeya’s sentiments to Daily Maverick.

“It appears that there is some level of ignorance about the various methods of investigations in the DPCI, including unconventional methods,” Mbambo said.

Lebeya’s stance on the warrant officer’s actions contradicts what the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) has found.

At the centre of the matter is Kinnear’s assassination — he was shot and killed on 18 September 2020 outside his Cape Town home. At the time, there were known threats to his life and his cellphone was being illegally monitored — pinged — meaning his location was being tracked.

But Kinnear, who was tracking several underworld cases as well as investigating corrupt police colleagues, was not under state protection.

Failed to act

Last week, Daily Maverick reported that in a final report dated May 2022, into why police did not act properly to prevent Kinnear’s murder, Ipid recommended that two officers (a major-general and a warrant officer whose identities are known to Daily Maverick) attached to the Hawks be criminally charged with defeating the course of justice.

It was found they “acted unlawfully and criminally” in failing to act on information they had, and this “resulted in the killing of the late Lieutenant Colonel Kinnear”.

Ipid’s report further stated: “DPCI Gauteng had failed to initiate a criminal investigation into the illegal monitoring of the late Lieutenant Colonel Kinnear’s cell phone, as the investigation revealed that DPCI had knowledge of the person or particulars of the person or persons involved in the illegal monitoring of the late Lieutenant Colonel Kinnear’s phone/movements. 

“DPCI had sufficient and prima facie evidence at hand to have applied for a search and seizure warrant to stop the illegal monitoring, seized equipment and ensure that the ongoing crime being committed against the state was neutralised.”

It also made scathing findings against Hawks head Lebeya.

“[He] failed to ensure that the DPCI members implicated investigate the threat against the state and therefore failed to protect the national interest or security of the state,” Ipid’s report said.

‘Over and above call of duty’

Lebeya, without confirming what was said in the report — which he said was not necessarily meant to be in the public domain — responded: “The DPCI is concerned that the information is silent about the findings of another high-level investigation which found that the Warrant Officer from the DPCI acted in accordance with prescribed framework. 

“The report also found that he is the one who initiated measures to transmit the information regarding the threat in relation to the illegal pinging.”

It was not clear what other investigation Lebeya was referring to.

Brigadier Mbambo, on behalf of Lebeya, said it “is evident that the member went over and above his call of duty to alert the relevant authorities of the imminent threat [to Kinnear].”

24 suspects arrested in sprawling investigations

The Hawks had also made several arrests relating to organised crime, which in turn linked to Kinnear and cases he had been investigating.

“May it be known that the DPCI has so far arrested 24 suspects related to these gang activities, and that two of these have already been convicted in a court of law,” Mbambo said.

“The other accused are appearing in court on several charges including a pattern of racketeering activities.”

Among those arrested were Nafiz Modack, accused of several crimes including involvement in Kinnear’s assassination, as well as Zane Kilian who is believed to have pinged Kinnear’s cellphone.

In April, Daily Maverick reported that Fareez “Mamokkie” Smith, a member of the Junky Funky Kids gang, admitted he conspired with two others to murder Kinnear at his Bishop Lavis home in November 2019. This plot, according to the state, had involved a hand grenade.

Daily Maverick also reported at the time that hitman Abongile Nqodi entered a plea and sentencing agreement with the state in a case stemming from the July 2019 murder in Melkbosstrand of 74-year-old Nicolaas Heerschap, the father of Nico Heerschap, a former Hawks warrant officer.  

Nqodi alleged that Modack had ordered the killing. At the time, Nico Heerschap was working for the Hawks and was investigating Modack.

When Kinnear was assassinated in September 2020, he had also been investigating Modack.

According to Ipid’s report, Nico Heerschap’s cellphone was pinged, just like Kinnear’s. DM

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 1

  • The pertinent question remains.where was Kinnears protection ?Why was it withdrawn?Why hasn’t a special protection unit been created long ago?There is a man power shortage.Then where was the planning to adress crime effectively.Everybody is in the blame game and passing the buck!!!Crime was allowed to proliferate.Why do you have a commander if he doesn’t enforce steps,if his recommendations go higher ,who has the final say?That is the guy that must be charged.The top management usually looks for a fall guy in the lower ranks while generals ,brigadiers are protected or shielded.They have oversight and they must act on it.It must also be said that sometimes IPID doesn’t always have knowledge of the workings of SAPS procedures,man power shortages vehicle shortages.All these problems started appearing under Zuma s mis reign.He should be charged for treason he had funds dissappear that could have stabilized crime if the money’s weren’t misappropriated and stolen.Accountabilty started disappearing under his tenure,the rot started at the top thanks to the ANC who all backed Zuma and allowed him to continue destroying the fibre of goverment and its functions.The whole RET squad ,with Zuma as supreme leader allowed this to happen and this situation to happen because they were robbing their own citizens blind!!!!

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