Court told of apartheid-era police acts
WHEN apartheid-era police bombed Cosatu House in May 1987, their motive was not just to destroy the building but to remove a valuable printing press – used to print counterfeit US currency – from the basement.
This is one of the activities of the past era’s police which is likely to be revealed when Major-General André Lincoln’s R15 million lawsuit against the State resumes on Monday.
Lincoln is suing the Minister of Safety and Security and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development for damages suffered when he was “maliciously” criminally charged while he was investigating secret police activities involving gangs in the Western Cape.
When Lincoln took the stand this week he testified that he had been charged because of what he knew when he worked as an underground ANC intelligence operative, and when he headed a presidential investigative task unit under Nelson Mandela in 1996.
Lincoln told the court that the unit, which was eventually disbanded, was mandated to investigate secret police activities with links to the criminal underworld. He also testified he met with opposition from senior police who were linked to the activities he was investigating.
The hearings this week were filled with suspense as revelations were made of former senior police officers interfering in crime scenes where anti-apartheid activists were killed, including the Gugulethu Seven.
Lincoln is seeking relief for what he calls “malicious prosecution” for 47 counts of fraud, theft and drunk-driving.
He was convicted and sentenced on 17 of the charges but was acquitted on appeal in the high court.
He told the court he was prosecuted because of what he knew about the activities of the apartheid-era narcotics bureau and murder and robbery unit.
The Gugulethu Seven were Umkhonto we Sizwe operatives who were gunned down by apartheid police in March 1986.
Lincoln testified that Leonard Knipe, a former police dir- ector, was involved in the crime scene. He testified that when Community House, a building which housed activist organisations, was bombed in 1997, Knipe was also involved.
A source said the press removed from Cosatu House was used to print counterfeit US dollar notes. This illegal printing was unveiled by Lincoln’s unit but the investigation was squashed. The hearing resumes on Monday.
André Lincoln outside the Cape Town High Court.