DURBAN – POLICE Minister Bheki Cele has vowed to clean up the force and sources say he has chosen former Hawks boss Major-General Johan Booysen as his special adviser.
The sources said it was a done deal, but neither Booysen nor Cele have confirmed this.
Asked if he would like to make a comeback, Booysen said: “I will always be here to serve my country.”
He applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa for appointing Cele as police minister.
Cele would not be drawn into commenting on Booysen’s comeback.
Cele and Booysen were known to have shared a close relationship in the past and are still friends.
Cele was also responsible for appointing Booysen to head the Hawks in 2010, a year after he was appointed police commissioner.
As the former Hawks boss, Booysen enjoyed Cele’s support when he and 25 members of the Durban Organised Crime Unit were accused of operating a “death squad”.
In June 2012, Booysens and his co-accused were arrested and charged with 116 counts, including racketeering, murder and attempted murder. They allegedly killed murder suspects and planted weapons to create the impression that the killings were justified.
The case has been delayed amid an unresolved legal battle between the National Prosecuting Authority and Booysen.
Last year, Booysen retired and turned to work in the private sector, as did many of the unit’s former members.
Two of the members have died.
Booysen previously told the media that his unit’s investigations into high-level politically-connected people led to their arrests.
His case was in court in November and is expected to return to court in October.
Last year, Booysen released a tell-all book entitled Blood on their Hands: General Johan Booysen Reveals his Truth in which Cele’s name featured prominently.
The book revealed a web behind Booysen’s struggle to keep his job, details about the “Cato Manor death squad” and agendas to capture law enforcement institutions, including the Hawks and police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.
In an extract from his book, on first meeting Cele, Booysen said: “I had no relationship with him to speak of. I’d never even picked up the phone to call him. He hadn’t been on the selection panel for the Hawks job. At that stage, we’d never met alone, ever. Yet ‘sources’ said I was Cele’s, right-hand man.”
At a voter registration drive in Durban yesterday, Cele said: “KwaZulu-Natal is under the spotlight and we hope that we are not going to disappoint the people who have faith in us.”
Cele said the issue of political killings in KZN and police killings was at the apex of his priorities.
“But to curb the scourge, the right people must be deployed to crime-fighting agencies,” said Cele.
Cele, who is a senior ANC national executive committee member, said he was confident that the party would be restored to its former glory if capable people were deployed to the government.
“Everybody says the mood is very positive and we need to build on that. We need to keep the mood going,” he said.
Taxi violence would also not be tolerated, he warned.
“We have a list of things we will be pushing hard on,” he said.
He aimed to drop police killings to zero.
“We cannot allow the situation to go on unchallenged. Police officers must fight back when criminals confront them,” he said.
Cele said he was also chasing down the murder case of former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain Senzo Meyiwa’s who was shot dead in 2014.