When Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear was assassinated on 18 September 2020, he was effectively the only police officer in South Africa with intimate knowledge of cases involving corrupt cops who were getting firearms and gun licences to criminal suspects.
The bullets that were pumped into him outside his Bishop Lavis home in Cape Town therefore nearly resulted in those critical cases falling apart – and his crooked cop colleagues getting away with serious criminality.
Details of this are contained in a final report by Ipid, dated May 2022 and which Daily Maverick has seen, into why Kinnear was not provided with adequate state security before his murder.
At the time Kinnear was under obvious threat and investigating underworld crimes.
Some of his police colleagues may have been involved in these crimes.
In November last year Daily Maverick reported on Ipid’s preliminary findings into the lack of security for Kinnear.
Ipid’s latest report bolsters those findings.
It found some of Kinnear’s investigations uncovered rot not just at the Central Firearms Register (CFR), but also at police stations in Gauteng.
“The designated firearms officers would facilitate the processing of the firearm licence application to individuals who are not fit to possess firearms,” Ipid’s report said.
“The investigations gave rise to the arrest of the suspects and for SAPS to institute disciplinary actions against involved members. However, his death has led to the effective collapse of these cases.
“There are a number of reasons that can be attributed to the effective collapse of the investigations, some of the reasons noted by the task team is that Lieutenant Colonel Kinnear was the only person who had intimate knowledge of the cases.”
Information should have been shared with another officer, however Ipid said this officer’s “knowledge of the cases was found to be sketchy”.
‘Absence of corroboration’
Kinnear was the only investigating officer who deposed affidavits in relation to the investigations and Ipid found “the absence of his corroboration weakens both the criminal cases as well as the departmental cases”.
After his murder, about 20 case dockets were assigned to two other police officers.
But Ipid said it was concerning that neither of these officers seemed to have intimate knowledge of the cases.
There was “a possible risk that the cases may crumble”.
“One can deduce without doubt that the death of Lieutenant Colonel Kinnear has significantly prejudiced the finalisation of these cases and the disciplinary hearing of those implicated, in that, his death has caused judicial proceedings to be defeated, which can be intended to obstruct the proceedings or realisation of these cases,” Ipid found.
“His death has hindered justice to take its course against the suspects, and by extension also hindered the SAPS disciplinary proceeding against implicated SAPS officials.”
Ipid said of the implicated police officers, two brigadiers resigned from the police “before any steps could be taken against” them.
Two sergeants still faced disciplinary hearings, while two other officers were cleared of wrongdoing at station level, but the police wanted to overturn those findings.
Ipid said an employee relations officer’s statement that Kinnear’s murder “only caused a setback”, hoping disciplinary steps would be taken against implicated police officers, was “unfortunate and misplaced given the fact that members resigned without consequence and others still enjoy the benefit of employment without any consequence”.
Fraudulent firearm licences
Ipid said among the several investigations Kinnear was involved in, was “how police officers in Gauteng province were allegedly creating fraudulent firearm licences for suspects, some in the Western Cape”.
Its report said: “These investigations by Lieutenant Colonel Kinnear have undeniably exposed the inadequacies and corruption within the SAPS Central Firearms Register [CFR]…
“These incidents of corruption connected to firearms under the control of the South African Police Service, as well as with the processing of firearm licences by some corrupt SAPS officials are not a new phenomenon and has been a hot topic of discussion and investigation by SAPS, civil society, advocacy, and research groups.”
Daily Maverick has previously reported on how police officers were allegedly helping criminals get their hands on firearms.
It has also reported on problems at the CFR.
“The SAPS CFR’s responsibilities in administering and facilitation of the decision making in relation to civilian firearms licensing has been undermined by the criminal elements within SAPS in [cahoots] with the criminal underworld for quite some time,” Ipid said.
“Lieutenant Colonel Kinnear opened several criminal cases in Gauteng relating to the fraudulent issuing of firearm licences. The primary suspect in the cases that the task team has seen and perused was identified as Mr Nafiz Modack and his immediate family.”
Project Impi – the backdrop
Kinnear’s investigations into cops playing a role in funnelling firearms to suspects appear to be similar to Project Impi, launched back in December 2013.
This massive investigation included focus on how police officers were channelling firearms, and in some cases related licences, to gangsters.
It was run by Lieutenant-General Peter Jacobs, who heads the police’s inspectorate, and Jeremy Vearey, who was controversially fired last year from his role of head of detectives in the Western Cape.
Firearms identified by Project Impi were believed to have been used in Western Cape gang hotspots between 2010 and 2016, and more specifically, according to court papers relating to it, “in 1,666 murders, 1,403 attempted murders and 315 other crimes”.
Many children were among the victims of these incidents.
Former police colonel, Chris Prinsloo, who had been a commander of the De Deur station in Vereeniging, was arrested in January 2015, and Irshaad Laher, a reservist there, was arrested in June 2016.
But the same month that Laher was arrested, Vearey and Jacobs were suddenly transferred within the police.
Vearey, in a June 2016 affidavit about this effective sidelining, said Project Impi “has been decimated on the orders of SAPS management”. DM