19 June 2019

South Africa: Anti-Gang Unit Head Wants Three Top Cops Removed After Botched Op Leaves 6 Officers Injured

The head of the Western Cape's Anti-Gang Unit - which came under fire during a tracing operation, resulting in six officers being shot - has requested that three top-ranking members placed in his force by the provincial police commissioner be immediately removed.

Major General Andre Lincoln is understood to have written the letter a day after his officers were wounded in the early morning shootout in Samora Machel, about 20km outside Cape Town.

In a scathing letter, the top cop wrote to Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula, requesting the removal of a brigadier and two colonels who had been placed in his unit by Jula himself.

Lincoln charged that one of the named colonels had planned and instructed the officers to take part in the operation, without an approved operation plan or specialised forces.

The Anti-Gang Unit came under attack after apprehending a person they believed was linked to recent murders in Samora Machel.

Serious crimes

Officers had been searching for another suspect, also wanted for serious crimes, when shots were fired from one of the shacks.

Lincoln - the unit's commander - wrote that he had not been part of the discussions surrounding the operation.

Furthermore, the major general's letter reads, the high-risk tracing operation was executed with a sergeant in charge and with none of the three officers present.

The second colonel, the unit's detective commander, had allowed the officers to be used on dockets not related to the Anti-Gang Unit and had allowed the sergeant to lead the operation, Lincoln wrote.

His request for the three officers to be removed from his unit was "necessitated by a break in the trust relationship", owing to decisions taken and implemented in the operation.

Western Cape police spokesperson Novela Potelwa on Wednesday said Major General Oswald Reddy has been appointed by the acting provincial commissioner to investigate "all issues pertaining to the attack".

"The investigation will also include recent allegations about some SAPS members that surfaced in media reports. It is requested that the investigation be allowed space to reach finality," she said.

In his letter, Lincoln wrote that his office had initiated a disciplinary investigation and that he had appointed a colonel of the Blue Downs Cluster Detectives to conduct the probe.

News24

South Africa

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