Court told of apartheid-era po­lice acts

Saturday Star - - NEWS - NOLOYISO MTEMBU

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.

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