20 Cato Manor cops arrested
TWENTY policemen from Durban's disbanded elite crime-busting unit - branded in the media the ''Cato Manor Death Squad' - spent the night behind bars after a nationwide swoop by heavily armed national intervention unit officers yesterday.
The arrested officers from the Cato Manor organised crime unit applied to the Durban High Court late yesterday afternoon to have their warrants of arrest set aside.
But Judge Trevor Gorven postponed the application indefinitely and ordered that they apply for bail today in the Durban Regional Court.
His order came after a day of confusion and anger over the way the 20 policemen were arrested by a team led by their Hawks colleagues.
The disbanded unit was part of the Hawks.
The men were at the unit's head office on Tuesday with lawyer Carl van der Merwe after hearing they were to be arrested on charges of murder, assault and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition that night.
Van der Merwe wrote to Hawks head Anwa Dramat earlier in the week to state that the men would cooperate fully.
While at their office early yesterday, more than 60 police, led by Major-General Ntebo Mabula, Hawks head in North West, swooped on their homes in Durban. Two officers were arrested in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, and one on the West Rand.
In court papers filed yesterday, Van der Merwe said Mabula refused to give him a copy of the affidavit that supported the arrests. He said the affidavit submitted in application for the search warrant was a clear "rip-off".
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela said an undisclosed amount of counterfeit cash, stolen property and dockets were seized in the raid.