Mitchells Plain organised crime cop in the dock on defeating the ends of justice charge

The Mitchell's Plain police sergeant faces a charge of defeating the ends of justice.The Mitchell’s Plain police sergeant faces a charge of defeating the ends of justice.
Image: Facebook/Abdul Karriem Lewis
A Western Cape police detective appeared in the Mitchells Plain magistrate’s court on Thursday on a charge of defeating the ends of justice.

Sgt AK Lewis, a former member of the Mitchells Plain organised crime unit, was charged a year after a SAPS national intervention team were sent to Cape Town to investigate what was dubbed as infighting between police factions in the province.

The case against Lewis is one of a few cases which were taken over by high-ranking members of the national unit. The cases had been handled by members of the Western Cape police counterintelligence unit, which investigated incidents of police corruption.

Lewis’ lawyer, Nashira Parker, said he was summonsed to appear in court and that he had already given a warning statement to the police.

His case was postponed until April 2 when he is expected to appear in the Mitchells Plain regional court.

TimesLIVE understands the case relates to Lewis allegedly tampering with evidence in a 2007 gang-related docket which included the possession of drugs and a firearm.

The case was thrown out of court as a resulted of the irregularities in the case.

In December 2018, gang unit commander Col Charl Kinnear alleged in a widely-publicised document that Lewis, along with other members of the former Mitchells Plain organised crime unit which he created, were being targeted in a witch hunt by a “rogue unit” in the police.

In the document, Kinnear alleged that the unit had questioned Lewis about allegations that he and Kinnear stole cash that they had seized from a suspect in 2016.

He claimed that the unit were targeting him, national crime intelligence boss Maj-Gen Peter Jacobs, Western Cape detectives boss Maj-Gen Jeremy Vearey, anti-gang unit member Capt Anthea Jaftha, and former anti-gang unit detective Const CV De Vries.

TimesLIVE understands that De Vries left the anti-gang unit in January.

Kinnear said that he formed the Mitchells Plain organised crime unit in 2007 and that Lewis had been part of his unit since its formation.

“At the time Maj-Gen JA Vearey was the station commander of SAPS Mitchells Plain and the unit was formed as per his instruction. The purpose of the unit was to address organised crime syndicates in the greater Mitchells Plain and Strandfontein area. The Unit addressed gangs and known drug dealers in the mentioned areas,” he said.

The Sunday Times previously reported that members of the Mitchells Plain organised crime unit including Kinnear allegedly kidnapped and tortured a witness and suspects in 2009 after the murder of Tafelsig neighbourhood watch member Mervin Jacobs.

Power restored to Western Cape trains as Prasa pays R6.5m Eskom bill

Commuters were stranded when the Western Cape's entire passenger train service was brought to a halt mid-afternoon on Thursday after Eskom cut power to Prasa, citing non-payment of accounts.
Commuters were stranded when the Western Cape’s entire passenger train service was brought to a halt mid-afternoon on Thursday after Eskom cut power to Prasa, citing non-payment of accounts.
Image: Dave Chambers
Prasa on Thursday paid R6.5m to Eskom, apparently ending a “devastating” disruption in the power supply to the passenger rail agency that left thousands of commuters in the Western Cape stranded.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha told TimesLIVE that the payment was received and the Passenger Rail Association of SA’s (Prasa’s) account was now “current”. He said power had been restored.

From about midday on Thursday, no trains were operating in the Western Cape after Eskom cut power to Prasa, citing non-payment of bills.

Commuters were stranded on trains which had to limp back to stations on emergency power and passengers were denied entry to train stations.

Prasa initially said that the trains would not run again on Thursday, but by around 6pm some were back in operation.

About 590,000 commuters use trains each weekday to get to work and back.

Barberton youth killed with police-issue gun stolen during hijacking

A police officer's gun was used to kill a Barbeton teenager, but the police say it was not the officer who pulled the trigger.Mpumalanga police have arrested a suspect in connection with the killing of a Barberton youth amid ongoing community protests in the town.

The teenager died earlier this week as police continued to respond to protests about the separation of the Umjindi Local Municipality from the City of Mbombela Local Municipality.

Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said since the youth’s shooting, local police had been the subject of a revolt from community members who had accused them of killing the youngster.

Hlathi said while the fatal shot was fired from a police officer’s gun, it was not the officer who pulled the trigger.

“To set the record explicitly clear, on the said day, the victim was with a group of friends and one of them, an 18-year-old boy, had a firearm in his possession. The firearm allegedly went off and hit the victim in the upper body,” said Hlathi.

“Police were then notified about the incident, rushed to the scene and medical personnel were summoned as well, where the young man was unfortunately certified dead on the scene. A case of murder was immediately opened and the said firearm seized as well,” he added.

Hlathi said it was not immediately clear how the shot had gone off.

“The motive for the shooting is unknown at this stage, however the suspect has already been arrested in connection with the murder,” he added.

The murder weapon, Hlathi confirmed, was official police property.

“The firearm was stolen from a police officer during a hijacking incident at Masoyi in January 2020. The investigation thereof is under way and police are still searching for the suspects in connection with the hijacking case,” said Hlathi.

It was not immediately clear how the suspect came to be in possession of the gun.

He is due to appear in the Barberton Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Accommodation costs beyond means of Wits students who have lost bursaries

Wits SRC president Thuto Gabaphethe hands over a memorandum of demands to Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi saying that provincial government must intervene in the student accommodation crisis.Wits SRC president Thuto Gabaphethe hands over a memorandum of demands to Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi saying that provincial government must intervene in the student accommodation crisis.
Image: Sisanda Aluta Mbolekwa
“I share your frustration, I share your pain. I know the difficulties of being a student without accommodation.”

This is what Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi told protesting University of the Witwatersrand students on Thursday.

The students, represented by the student representative council, marched to the Gauteng legislature ahead of the state of the province debate. Led by SRC president Thuto Gabaphethe, the group of about 50 students asked the provincial government to assist in their demands over accommodation at the institution.

About 200 students have been registered but are homeless, according to the marchers.

“We have identified that there are unoccupied buildings owned by government, when there are students languishing in Braamfontein, being forced to sleep in libraries, laboratories, Park Station, MTN and Bree [street] taxi ranks. These buildings must be opened for students,” Gabaphethe said.

LISTEN TO WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY:He assured the students that government was on their side.

“ We have taken stock of all the buildings that are owned by government and are underutilised or standing empty. When that report reaches the desk of the executive, some of us who are former presidents of SRC and former student leaders will raise that those buildings which are close to institutions must be made available to students.

“We are going to negotiate with institutions of higher education to find a mechanism allowing those buildings owned by government to be utilised by students and for educational purposes,” the MEC said.

Among the students’ demands were that, apart from opening up government-owned buildings for student housing, there needed to be better engagement between the government and the private sector regarding accommodation rates.

A second-year mining engineering student, Mthobisi Dlamini, was among the protesters.

The 21-year-old — the firstborn of six children — is now without accommodation and sleeps in the university’s computer labs.

“I do not have anywhere to go because my home is in KZN. It is impossible to travel to Wits every day from another province. I have been struggling to get accommodation and basic necessities like bathing essentials and food.

“As the first one to go to university at home and in the village, everything is on my shoulders. The reason I didn’t perform well in my first year was that to support my single mother, I would tutor other students to make money to send to my family,” Dlamini said.

He told TimesLIVE that because he neglected his academic work and would miss out on class because of his tutoring, he subsequently lost his funding.

“It is difficult to concentrate in class because of my homelessness. I constantly worry about the safety of my belongings that I leave in the computer labs. I really hope that government will hear us and assist,” Dlamini said.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said the university was aware that some students were staging a picket outside the Gauteng legislature to highlight the purported lack of student accommodation.

“We would like to clarify that there is sufficient supply of accommodation in the Braamfontein area. The real issue is that the cost of private accommodation is sometimes unaffordable to students and particularly out of reach for those students who have lost their bursaries and financial aid due to poor academic performance,” Patel said.

Police and army on scene after stoning of buses in Cape Town

Golden Arrow buses were stoned in the Nyanga area early on Friday. File photo.Golden Arrow buses were stoned in the Nyanga area early on Friday. File photo.
Two drivers were injured as Golden Arrow buses were attacked in Nyanga, Cape Town, early on Friday.

Cape Town traffic spokesperson Richard Coleman said, “Due to public violence in the Nyanga area, Golden Arrow buses are being stoned at the bus terminus.”

“We’ve got two drivers who have been taken to hospital with slight injuries,” he said.Coleman did not elaborate on the cause of the violence but a series of tweets suggested that it may be linked to a taxi protest.

“Borcherds Quarry Road linked to the N2 is being utilised as a pick-up point for Golden Arrow,” said Coleman.

“SAP, metro police and the SANDF are attending to the violence.”

Poor bus users have to wall a distance to N2 to find their buses due taxi drivers strike now they are taking thier anger out to Golden Arrow’s buses

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