ATC200626: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the Petition of Mr Cornelius Basson dated 26 June 2020


Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the Petition of Mr Cornelius Basson dated 26June 2020


1.         Introduction

The Speaker of the National Assembly referred a petition from Mr Cornelius Basson to the Portfolio Committee on Police on 25 July 2019.

The particulars of the petition were that Mr Basson requested Parliament to intervene as his son was killed and he did not receive progress reports or feedback from the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The process for the Committee to process the petitions are regulated in Chapter 14 of the Rules of the National Assembly (14th edition). Rule 337 (d) makes provision for the Speaker to table written instruments including special petitions and other petitions of a general nature.

Part 3 of the Rules makes provision for following:

Rule 344 makes provision for the form of the petition to be prescribed by the Speaker in accordance with the guidelines determined by the Rules Committee.

Rule 345 states that the petition must be in one of the official languages. All the petitions must be signed by the petitioners themselves according to Rule 346 (1).

According to Rule 347(1), a petition must be lodged by a member with the Secretary for approval and tabling by the Speaker, the Secretary Lodging of the petition and must be signed at the beginning thereof by the member. Rule 347(2) provides that a member may not lodge a petition on his or her own behalf, but such a petition may be lodged by another member.

Rule 348 makes provision for each petition to be deposited for at least one day with the Secretary who must submit it to the Speaker for approval before it is tabled in the Assembly. If the Speaker finds that the petition complies with the guidelines determined by the Rules Committee, the Speaker must approve it and table it in the Assembly without delay in terms of Rule 349.

After tabling, a petition is then referred in terms of Rule 350 (a) if it is a special petition to the committee on public finance and in terms of Rule 320 (b), to a relevant Portfolio Committee if it is a petition of a general nature.

The Committee met on 27 November 2019 to hear the petitioner and the response from the SAPS. The Chairperson welcomed Mr Basson and his wife to the meeting and explained the process of hearing the petition.

2.         Mr Basson submission

Mr Basson thanked the Committee for hearing his petition. He noted that the 28th of November would have been exactly 16 months since his youngest son, Chad was killed. Mr Basson stated that he was the father of four children and he started his activism with the Clothing and Textile Workers Union (CLOWU). He later joined the Transport and General Workers Union as an organiser. Mr Basson stated that his son, Chad matriculated at Portland’s High School with distinction. His son was killed after being invited to attend a party and lost his life to people he did not even know. Two weeks after the killing, the family was astounded to see how many people his son knew, as many people came to sympathise with the family.

Mr Basson stated that he was disappointed with the manner in which the SAPS dealt with the investigation. Two weeks after the shooting, they had to tell the police that they had to fetch the bullet casings which were stuck in a couch. Thereafter, the family organised a march to the Lentegeur Police Station to hand over signatures they had collected for the community to be made safer. He wrote letters to the Head of Detectives and the Head of the anti-Gang Unit.

He eventually persuaded the police to fetch the docket from the police station as he was seeing no progress from the station investigators after three months. The station commander of Lentegeur police station retired and nothing happened. He made representations to the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) and the Provincial Commissioner of Police about the case and the arrests of the suspects. He also sent correspondence to the Minister of Police and the docket was transferred from the Lentegeur station to the Anti-Gang Unit.

He was disappointed with the response from the Anti-Gang Unit and the Head of Detectives as nothing was forthcoming. Mr Basson stated that he received feedback from Brigadier Cele who told him that he was very frustrated with the investigators.

Mr Basson tried to approach the President when he came to Portlands during the elections campaign, but was unable to speak to him as there were many others who spoke. Mr Basson told the Committee he spoke to the deputy Secretary General and the Provincial Secretary of the ANC and also sent his complaint to the Police Ombudsman’s Office. He even wrote to the former Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police. He felt frustrated and alone when he received no breakthroughs.

According to Mr Basson, the detective assigned to his son’s case had too many cases. All that he asked for was a short message service (sms) from time to time to give him feedback on the progress of the case. He went to look for potential witnesses and suspects. He found a gangster who was sentenced that gave him information about his son’s case and provided a statement. Since he complained to Parliament however, the detective called four times in the last few days. He felt that there was selective justice as the police effected an arrest in the killing of a high profile lawyer at his son’s school. When gang members are killed, there are quick arrests, but there was no arrest in his son’s case. He also did not know if the firearm used in his son’s killing was forensically linked to other killings.

Mr Basson kept his own diary of all the people and departments within the SAPS and others he had seen in connection with his son’s case.

He established a foundation in his son’s name and stated that he would fight until the last breath for justice for his son and for his son’s killers to be found.


3.         Minister of Police Response

The Minister of Police stated that he was worried about the way in which he SAPS responds. He was concerned that the meeting was open and there is was sensitive information which was required and he did not know how far they could go on during the discussion as too many people did not want to talk and some have already died. 


4.         SAPS Response

The SAPS reported that Mr Basson lodged a complaint one month after his son was killed and the case was investigated by Colonel Seals.  At that point in time the investigation of the murder case was in the early stages. A suspect was identified, arrested and brought before court. The case against him was withdrawn, due to insufficient evidence and he was later also murdered. The SAPS then later also tasked informers to get more information about the suspects.

A meeting was held with Mrs Basson, on 28 August 2018.  On 11 September 2018, a meeting was held with the community at which meeting the community agreed to work with the police.  Mr Basson indicated that he will only be satisfied when someone is convicted for his son’s murder.  According to the SAPS, another meeting took place, on 9 October 2018 and feedbackwas provided to Mr Basson.Since 24 October 2018, Mr Basson was called several times,without reply.His address was visited and Mrs Basson was interviewed. Another request was made for Mr Basson to contact the investigating officer and according to the SAPS, they were unable to contact Mr Basson.

After the case was transferred to the Anti-Gang Unit, they discovered that two further suspects were already killed. Another meeting with Mr Basson took place, on 1 December 2018 and another suspect was identified.

The SAPS reported that witnesses did not want to testify in court, as they feared for their lives. Witnesses did not want to go into the Witness Protection Programme and some of the witnesses could not identify possible suspects, only nick-names.


5.         SAPS report and Committee meeting on 11 March 2020

The SAPS forwarded a report to the Committee regarding progress in the murder investigation of Mr Basson’s son in preparation for the Portfolio Committee meeting on 19 February 2020. In view of the time available to Committee, it was unable to deal with the matter and an updated presentation was provided on 4 March 2020.

The Committee met on 11 March and considered the SAPS report. The SAPS reported that feedback meetings were held with Mr Basson on 28 August 2018, 11 September 2018 and 9 October 2018, where the feedback and progress was provided. The investigating officer also visited Mr Basson and provided feedback to him on 3 March 2020.

The SAPS reported that the docket escalated to national level and it was perused by the national organised crime unit. The Investigation team is in the process of finalising the case docket and the Anti-Gang Unit was asked to monitor the progress of the docket. The SAPS reported that in the latest progress on matter an individual was identified and a magistrate signed a warrant of arrest and are pursuing matter.

The SAPS will be providing further information as the investigation develops.


6.         Committee recommendation

After a thorough discussions and the knowledge that the case was at a sensitive stage, the Committee resolved to make the following recommendation:

The SAPS must investigate Mr Basson’s case and report and each and every meeting of the Portfolio Committee until the matter has been resolved. The SAPS must also provide the feedback to Mr Basson. The matter will be the first on all agendas of the Portfolio Committee.

Mr Basson was asked whether he agreed and he felt satisfied. Members of the Portfolio Committee expressed themselves on the moving testimony of Mr Basson and felt that the communications of the SAPS were bad.

In view of the progress provided at the meeting held on 11 March 2020, the Committee agreed that the SAPS should provide quarterly reports on the matter as the investigation progresses.


7.         Conclusion

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee noted that it was the start of the 16 Days of activism for no violence against women and children and confirmed the decision of the Portfolio Committee Members. Although the Committee was busy, it did not expect the year to end on such a note and wanted progress in the case.


Report to be considered


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