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Cato Manor death squad investigators pressured witnesses, Booysen tells inquiry

Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen says the police team assigned to investigate the 'Sunday Times' Cato Manor death squad stories tried to force witnesses to give incriminating statements against the implicated officers.

A screengrab of former KZN Hawks head Johan Booysen gives testimony at the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture on 17 April 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - Former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen says the police team assigned to investigate the Sunday Times Cato Manor death squad stories tried to force witnesses to give incriminating statements against the implicated officers.

The major-general testified at the state capture of commission of inquiry on Thursday where he accused senior police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials of protecting suspects in high-profile cases.

The Sunday Times has apologised and retracted the Cato Manor stories but Booysen and the detectives are continuing their legal fight to have the racketeering charges which followed the stories withdrawn.

Johan Booysen said that after the Cato Manor death squad stories were published, former Hawks boss Anwa Dramat appointed Major-General Jan Mabula to investigate the allegations.

Booysen said that he soon learnt that they were doing everything in their power to obtain incriminating evidence.

"I then started to wonder what's going on here. They're supposed to be objective in their investigations and they're trying to get people to change statements, they're going to informers, so they were putting pressure on people to implicate the detectives of Cato Manor."

Mabula is the same officer who conducted the counter investigation of Robert McBride and several Ipid investigators when they probed former national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane.