Members of the apartheid-era security police swept the scenes after the bombing of Community House in Salt River in 1997 and the killing of the so-called Gugulethu Seven in 1986, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.
Major-General Andre Lincoln testified that he believed that, because he knew this, members of the security branch, specifically Western Cape policeman Leonard Knipe, targeted him and went out of their way to tarnish his name.
“The bombing of Community House in Salt River and the shooting of the Gugulethu Seven… Members of the murder and robbery unit had a role in sweeping these crime scenes.
“I can speak here with a lot more freedom,” Lincoln said, adding that it was because he was involved in a civil, and not criminal, matter.
“I am only of the opinion that Leonard Knipe knew [that] I knew of the activities of the murder and robbery unit. Mr Knipe and his unit were actively involved.”
The Gugulethu Seven was a group of anti-apartheid activists who were shot and killed on March 3, 1986, by members of the then-South African Police.
Community House in Salt River, where several anti-apartheid groups and the Congress of South African Trade Unions had offices, was bombed on August 29, 1987.
In 1996, then-president Nelson Mandela tasked Lincoln with heading up a presidential investigative task unit to probe Cape Town-based Italian mafioso Vito Palazzolo and his links to government officials, police and businessman.
But he was instead arrested on an array of charges linked to Palazzolo. He was later acquitted.
Lincoln is claiming R15m in damages from the minister of safety and security (now the minister of police) for what he has termed “malicious prosecution”.
He believes Knipe and another police officer with the surname Rossouw, acting on the orders of the then-national police commissioner George Fivaz, helped set up the “malicious” prosecution against him.
‘Arrested comrades of mine’
On Wednesday, Lincoln testified that prior to his joining the police, he had worked in the intelligence and security division of the African National Congress.
He had infiltrated the security branch of the then-SA Police.
“A total number of five security branch policemen were reporting to me on the activities of the security branch,” Lincoln said.
“During that interaction, I became interested in the murder and robbery unit because that unit had a function to play in the apartheid activities.”
He said Knipe was known in the Western Cape as being part of the unit and had being among security police officers who “arrested comrades of mine”.
Earlier on Wednesday, Knipe sat in the court’s public gallery, listening to proceedings.
He was not present for Lincoln’s testimony about him and the murder and robbery unit.
The case resumes on Thursday.
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Publish date : 15 March 2017 | 3:52 pm