Cape Town’s Special Investigation Unit shut down

17 September 2017 - 13:04 By Aron Hyman
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Cape Town skyline. File photo.
Cape Town skyline. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

The City of Cape Town’s Special Investigation Unit‚ which worked with police and international law enforcement agencies such as the FBI‚ has been shut down.

The unit had a wide mandate and‚ before it’s mandate was changed along with it’s name in August‚ it was tasked with assisting the Hawks and the FBI in obtaining information on the night club shootings in Cape Town.

The unit also ran investigations into council members and City staff suspected of corruption or other crimes but under it’s new mandate the “Internal Investigations Unit” may only investigate such allegations against staff in the City’s Safety and Security directorate which includes Metro Police and Law Enforcement.

Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille’s spokesperson Zara Nicholson said only the speaker of council‚ Dirk Smit‚ may investigate “alleged misconduct” by councillors.

The unit was busy investigating the murder of DA ward councillor Xolile Gwangxu who was shot in the head at point blank range after a community meeting in Philippi East in June.

It was also investigating a councillor for housing fraud as well as poo thrower and Ses'khona People's Movement leader Andile Lili for incitement to commit murder‚ assault‚ and intimidation.

Asked why the unit’s mandate was changed Nicholson said: “The mandate for the investigation and detection of crime rests with the SAPS in terms of the SAPS Act”.

The unit assisted SAPS with hundreds of watching briefs in cases involving drugs‚ drunk driving‚ and firearms possession cases.

Western Cape SAPS spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said‚ “as a law enforcement agency the City does a lot and we are very thankful”.

“We work hand-in-hand with all law enforcement agencies who can help us bring down crime in this province‚” said Traut.

Nicholson said the unit’s work‚ “has been and still is of great assistance in resolving internal matters where referred to them”.

Neither the unit’s leadership nor its staff have been changed‚ according to Nicholson.

Some of the other things the Special Investigation Unit was also tasked with investigating included gang violence‚ taxi violence‚ veld and mountain fires‚ land invasions‚ the burning of trains‚ and xenophobia.

Asked whether the new unit may still investigate gang-related activity and organised crime Nicholson said it may “assist with such activities in Councils Rental Stock” and can also assist with operations conducted by the City’s Gang and Drugs Task Team.

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