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Ipid’s ‘secret’ report into top cop Charl Kinnear’s killing has compromised Parliament, police committee hears

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    Nat Quinn

    A discussion about why a report relating to police detective Charl Kinnear’s assassination was suddenly restricted — after it was widely publicised — has led to accusations that Parliament’s oversight mandate has been compromised.

    The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) was grilled in Parliament about why a report relating to the assassination of policeman Charl Kinnear was suddenly restricted, cutting off public access to the document.

    Police committee chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson, during a meeting in Parliament on Friday, 14 October, also accused Ipid of putting Parliament in an unfavourable position via its submission of the restricted report.

    She explained that when a document was tabled in Parliament, it became a public document, but Ipid had submitted a document that was restricted. This meant Parliament was given a report that the public, and others in Parliament without the necessary clearance, would not be allowed to access. If they somehow accessed the report, it could mean they were contravening the law.

    ‘No secrets should be kept’

    “Ipid has compromised Parliament’s oversight mandate,” Joemat-Pettersson said during Friday’s meeting.

    “We are a Parliament of the people, and no secrets should be kept… We are a constitutional democracy, and we take our mandate seriously.”

    Even though the Kinnear matter was not on the police committee’s meeting agenda on Friday, significant time was spent discussing it, with several attendees demanding to know why Ipid had restricted its report.

    In August, the police committee heard that the report was classified as “top secret” without any reason given.

    On Friday, it emerged the report was classified as restricted, which, according to a document on the State Information Technology Agency’s website, is a classification “used when the compromise of information can cause inconvenience to a person or institution, but cannot hold a threat of damage”.

    Kinnear was shot dead outside his Bishop Lavis home in Cape Town on 18 September 2020. At the time, it was widely known that Kinnear was under threat, yet he was not under state protection. This aspect — his lack of security — was central to the Ipid investigations and the resultant report.

    Public domain

    In November 2021, Daily Maverick reported extensively on Ipid’s preliminary report into issues linked to Kinnear’s murder. Daily Maverick also published several articles on Ipid’s final report in June this year — this report was the one that was subsequently restricted.

    Both reports, leaked to the media and others, made scathing findings against several cops including top officers.

    Last month, DM168 tried to establish who had classified Ipid’s final report, effectively making it a secret document, and why. But no straightforward answer was provided.

    Asked about the report’s restriction, Ipid spokesperson Lizzy Suping simply said: “Please note that the Charl Kinnear report has been handed over to the minister.”

    DM168 also established that Police Minister Bheki Cele had not made a request for the report to be classified.

    Senior cops implicated

    During Friday’s meeting in Parliament, Ipid finally provided answers about the classification of the report.

    ipid ntlatseng
    Ipid executive director Jennifer Ntlatseng. (Photo: Gallo Images / Deaan Vivier)

    Its executive director, Jennifer Ntlatseng, said Ipid had classified the information in the report. She told the police committee the report was restricted “because we were investigating a sensitive matter and it implicated senior [police] officers”.

    She added that the report had been sent to national Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola so that he could act on recommendations, as well as to the National Prosecuting Authority for it to consider the recommendations.

    Ntlatseng was yet to receive feedback from them.

    But the DA’s Ockert Terblanche did not buy Ntlatseng’s reasons for restricting the Kinnear report.

    “The fact that there are suspects, apparently senior officers, is not enough reason to classify a document,” he said.

    Reconsider classification

    Terblanche referred to the Phala Phala saga that involved former State Security Agency boss Arthur Fraser lodging a criminal complaint against President Cyril Ramaphosa. The complaint, made in June, was about millions of US dollars stolen in a robbery at Ramaphosa’s Limpopo game farm.

    Terblanche said the Phala Phala matter was widely reported on and implicated South Africa’s head of state, but not even documents linked to that were classified. He said this suggested there were not strong enough reasons to restrict Ipid’s report and the decision to do so “must be reconsidered”.


    Kinnear’s widow, Nicolette, previously confirmed to Daily Maverick that Ipid officials had met her family and discussed the report’s contents.

    But following the restriction of the document, she was not allowed access to it because she did not have the necessary clearance.

    During Friday’s police committee meeting, it was heard that Kinnear had written to members of Parliament about the “lack of transparency in the National Assembly”.

    In response, Joemat-Pettersson said the police committee had done considerable work on the Kinnear matter.

    Clearance issues and a court case

    When it came to Ipid’s report though, Joemat-Pettersson had also hit a barrier. She said she recently tried to access the report, but necessary security arrangements had not been put in place yet, so she was unable to do so.

    It was not immediately clear if members of Parliament’s police committee who did not have security clearance would be allowed to read the report. While the Kinnear matter has been focused on in Parliament, other aspects of the criminal case into his murder have been unfolding in court.

    Suspects include Nafiz Modack, who Kinnear was investigating, Zane Kilian, suspected of illegally tracking Kinnear’s cellphone, and Kinnear’s colleague Ashley Tabisher, a former Anti-Gang Unit policeman.

    Ipid’s report referred to Modack, saying that a “rogue” police unit existed in the Western Cape and “created further animosity amongst leadership, sowing division”.

    “This may have created a perfect opportunity for underworld syndicates and figures such as Nafiz Modack to infiltrate SAPS to monitor the movement of key role players,” the report stated.

    Police behaving badly

    Before it was restricted, Daily Maverick published several articles on the Ipid report’s findings and recommendations.

    These included that:

    • The “rogue unit” of police officers in the Western Cape, linked to Crime Intelligence, indeed existed. Ipid recommended that four of its members should face departmental charges. In December 2018, Kinnear had complained to his bosses that a rogue unit of police officers was working to frame him and some of his colleagues. Ipid’s findings validated his complaints.
    • Several cases, involving corrupt cops who were providing firearm licences to criminal suspects, could collapse due to Kinnear’s assassination.
    • Two Hawks officers should be criminally charged for not acting when Kinnear’s cellphone was illegally monitored. Ipid also found that national Hawks’ head, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, “failed to ensure that the [Hawks] members implicated investigated the threat against the state and therefore failed to protect the national interest or security of the state”. Lebeya hit back, saying a warrant officer attached to the Hawks went all-out to alert key colleagues about the threat to Kinnear’s life.
    • The Western Cape’s Anti-Gang Unit was found to be under-resourced and Ipid said consideration should be given to disbanding it.

    Ipid also previously lodged criminal complaints against former national Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole because it was felt Sitole failed to cooperate with its investigation relating to Kinnear.

    Sitole denied this.

    He vacated the national police commissioner seat at the end of March this year — a move the Presidency said was “in the best interests of the country”.

    Ipid’s ‘secret’ report into Charl Kinnear’s killing ‘ha… (dailymaverick.co.za)

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