ATC210318: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the Petition of Mrs Nicky Kinnear on the death of her husband, Lt. Colonel Charl Kinnear dated 17 March 2021
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Police on the Petition of Mrs Nicky Kinnear on the death of her husband, Lt. Colonel Charl Kinnear dated 17 March 2021
The Portfolio Committee on Police received an unsolicited petition referred by the Speaker, from Mrs Nicolette Kinnear, wife of murdered Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear on 13 November 2020.The Portfolio Committee met on 23 February 2021 to consider the petition and report as follows:
Mrs Nicolette Kinnear tabled an unsolicited petition to parliament and requested parliament to source information surrounding the death of her husband, Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear, who was assassinated on 18 September 2020.
The Constitution provides for petitions to be brought to parliament. Section 56 (d) and 69 (d) of the Constitution provides for the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) to receive petitions, representations or submissions from any interested persons or institutions.
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 (1) if it is a special petition to the committee on public finance and in terms of Rule 320 (2), to a relevant Portfolio Committee if it is a petition of a general nature.
2. Mrs Kinnear’s submission
Mrs Kinnear thanked the Committee for providing her and her family the opportunity to raise her concerns through her petition to parliament. She mapped out that the guarding of her late Lt. Colonel Charl Kinnear, which had been put in place after threats were received, was removed in December 2019.
According to Mrs Kinnear, intelligence was received that her husband and Major General Lincoln was on a hit list. On 14 November 2019, Colonel kay was assassinated in a similar way as her husband because he was shot outside his house.
On 19 November 2019, her husband and family were placed under protection and provided with guarding. On 23 November 2019, an attempted hand-grenade attack was foiled by the police and the suspects were arrested. The fact that the suspects attempted to attack their premises while they were under guarding, showed determination.
Mrs Kinnear stated that the guarding as removed in January 2020, the attackers knew that they were in the house. She questioned why the guarding was removed. She also informed the Committee that instead of paying attention to their plight, the SAPS management sent a letter that transferred Col. Kinnear to Sea Point police station. He refused to sign the document and by agreeing to the transfer, his dockets at the Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) would be taken over by someone else. He was in the AGU because of what he had uncovered through his investigations. By placing him at the Sea Point police station, the transfer of his dockets to another investigator would have placed another family at risk. Mrs Kinnear indicated that she had sent through her husband’s 59-page letter to the National Commissioner which was out in the public domain, and in which he complained about being monitored by a rogue unit of police officers attached to the western Cape Crime Intelligence unit. He alleged that these officers were following him and intercepting his calls.
The members of the Crime Intelligence unit followed her and her family and at one stage the entire Crime Intelligence unit arrived. The threats were never on her husband alone, but also on her family. These members arrived at the courts where Colonel Kinnear’s cases were being heard and in his report in response to the allegations by her husband, the head of Crime Intelligence, Lt. General Jacobs indicated that it was a rogue intelligence unit after investigating. The Independent Police Investigations Directorate (IPID) investigated the allegations and made recommendations to the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) for the criminal prosecution of the individuals named.
The NPA declined to prosecute.
Mrs Kinnear wanted answers as to why, after this document was sent to the National Commissioner’s office, the guarding was removed. The official reason provided was that the provincial Crime Intelligence was supposed to do an investigation into the threat and her husband refused to give his co-operation as they were the very people that he complained to the National Commissioner about. He could not trust them.
Her husband, did reach out to meet them halfway on the threats and there was an issue between him and the members Crime Intelligence in the Western Cape. She indicated that within weeks after her husband’s assassination, the same Crime Intelligence officers, Colonel Kinnear accused of following him and intercepting his calls were placed under official protection.
Mrs Kinnear wanted to know why there was no official authorisation for her husband’s protection and whether the family was side-stepped because of his letter to the National Commissioner. It should not happen to another family. Col Kinnear loved the SAPS and the family was robbed of sorely needed family time. They had to adapt their lifestyle in having a dad standing at a fence watching his son play soccer, because his life was in danger. No family needed to be exposed to that. She stated that when there were threats, it was essential to keep people alive and wanted to know whether that is reserved for certain people only.
According to Mrs Kinnear, no threat analysis was done and they were left to draw their own conclusions that the guarding was removed because of his 59-page letter to the National Commissioner.
She wanted to know that when her husband was away for investigations, it became known that his phone was pinged. It was reported that reports were drafted informing certain people of the threat between 3-18 September 2020 and nothing was done.
She wanted to know why, if people knew about the threat and the increased pinging, nothing was done and what the reasons behind it was. The family has heard that other people were blamed including Major Generals Lincoln and Vearey, but she wanted to know what about the others such as the Provincial Head of Crime Intelligence in the Western Cape?
She wanted to know from her husband’s boss, General Vearey what he did about her husband’s safety when he acknowledged that her husband was on a hit list. Mrs Kinnear questioned whether your life only mattered in you were a General in the SAPS? Her plight was ignored when she raised her concerns in January 2020. She stated that the SAPS failed her husband and family and that there was gross negligence in keeping him safe.
He was doing his job and his life was under threat because he was doing his job. The family was robbed and the public has been robbed because of his expertise as his record spokefor itself. She concluded by saying that she wanted answers why the guarding was removed and the build up towards the assassination and what happened between the 3-18 September 2020.
3. Committee Comments
Members of the Portfolio Committee expressed a number of opinions and questions on the issues raised. Without exception, all the Members of the Committee sympathised with Mrs Kinnear and her family on the loss of her husband and the children’s father. The Members were unanimous that the SAPS management had a lot to answer to with respect to why the protection of Lt Colonel Kinnear was withdrawn.
The matter request from Mrs Kinnear was straightforward and deserved a frank and honest response. Members appealed that the matter is held at the front of this Committee to root out corrupt elements in the SAPS.
The Committee noted that we have to use this opportunity to prevent it from happening in future and questioned how it was possible that the police acted in this way. It was known that Col Kinnear was investigating gangs and high profile people and his protection was taken away and the SAPS should provide clarity to the family. Even the Minister provided assurances to the family and they have not received any feedback yet.
Members wanted answers and stated that they needed regular updates from the SAPS. Of particular concern was what message was being sent to the other detectives who have to enter the same battle ground.The Committee noted that the handling of the situation of Colonel Kinnear was a victory for criminals. They wanted to know what aspects of the gangs the police were focussing on in the Western Cape what planning they have done to protect Col Kinnear or its other members. It was clear that criminals bribe certain people to ensure that they are successful, if there is nosuccessful prosecution on this matter it is a very important victory for the criminals. The assassination of Colonel Kinnear was a victory for the criminals. Members were not happy that there were two attacks in one month and the assassination happened after his protection was withdrawn. Members questioned the SAPS to answer why his protection was withdrawn and whether there was an investigation into the fact that some people were bribed.
The Committee noted the fact that Mrs Kinnear was told by the SAPS that she had unrealistic expectations when the family was insecure. It is the duty of the police to bring comfort and security and Members could not understand the unprofessional treatment of the family on the part of the SAPS. The Committee could understand why the family felt let down.
Other Members of the Committee questioned why Major General Vearey who also on the hit-list, was protected. He needed to answer because he was Colonel Kinnear’s boss. The SAPS was notorious for not providing feedback to people and encouraged people to approach the Parliament. Members questioned why the AGU initially protected the family and wanted to know what made them protect the family.
Members also wanted to know whether the SAPS Head Office knew about a hit-list and the detectives who were targeted. Colonel Kinnear was the best of the best and no threat analysis was done. To have withdrawn his protection quietly, raised suspicions. Members asked that the Minister and Deputy Ministers respond.
The Committee observed that Mrs Kinnear can see that the matter was being taken very seriously by the Committee. The fact that the policemen and women would have understood the security situation better and if they had made a security assessment and they found his life was in danger. The fact that there was a grenade near the house showed you that the life of Col Kinnear was under serious threat and the police should have taken it very seriously. Members wanted to know who removed his protection as Colonel Kinnear was surveilled from point to point and it should have been be regarded as a high prolife case.
A Member pointed out that Colonel Kinnear was killed because there was exposure, that was about to happen and that the information was there were SAPS members who were about to be to be exposed. He stated that it was not the gangs was killed Colonel Kinnear but somebody who did not do his job and someone who did not want to be exposed. It is a mafia leading the department and once you speak out, you become a target. Until the Committee deals with the leadership of the SAPS, we will not be able to deal with the assassination of Colonel Kinnear.
The Chairperson stated that it was an open meeting and that the Committee will be receiving regular updates from the SAPS and that the Committee will be sending those responses to the family.
4. Minister of Police response
The Minister stated that there were ongoing investigations and that the Ministry requested to give updates to the family. While there was people being investigated, there were other people who should fall into that category. The Minister stated that the current report of the SAPS was not canvassed with him as he only saw the presentation on Saturday evening.
He emphasised that that he too wanted to know why certain people were investigated and not others. There should be two categories of the report; one is the events that led up to the assassination and the other, the events after the assassination.
5. SAPS Responses
The National Commissioner extended his condolences to the bereaved Kinnear family on behalf of the SAPS and reported that the SAPS Security Policy (No 3 of 2019), made provision for protection of members. The police safety strategy operationalises the policy. It holds all the Station Commanders, Provincial Commissioners and Divisional Commissioners accountable for the implementation of the policy. All the different levels have to take responsibility to implement the necessary precautions should members find their lives threatened. He indicated that Paragraph 9 makes provision for threat assessments and paragraph 16 makes provision for deviations to the policy up to the highest level of authority. All members, no matter their ranks could be protected.
The National Commissioner reported that internal processes are proceeding and the SAPS took note of the concerns of the family and members of the Committee. The disciplinary proceeding is based purely on both of the questions raised by the family. There is a departmental process and a criminal process by Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).
Mrs Kinnear thanked the Committee for its role in getting to the bottom of her husband’s assassination and noted that she and her family eagerly awaited the outcome and wanted transparency.
In concluding the Chairperson stated that the matter would not be concluded in the meeting as investigations were still be conducted. She thanked Mrs Kinnear for her petition and appearing in front of the Committee and noted that she is still part of the SAPS family. The Committee would hold the various members of the SAPS accountable and the matter would not be removed from the agenda of the Committee until it is cleared up. The Committee was obligated to get to the bottom of the matter. She stated that the Committee was united in wanting answers and there would be justice for the Colonel Kinnear.
Report to be considered.
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