'Kinnear investigated police as well', Cele tells mourners at slain detective's funeral
If police minister Bheki Cele’s tough words at Lt-Col Charl Kinnear’s funeral are anything to go by, those who stripped the top detective of protection will know their fate soon.
Speaking at Kinnear’s funeral on Saturday at the Every Nation Church in Goodwood, Cape Town, Cele reiterated his statement that the probe into why Kinnear was “left naked and vulnerable” will leave no stone unturned and that “heads will roll”.
“This is our last mile, it could be the first mile,” said Cele. “Too many people who have spoken here have mourned but I don’t think I would like to mourn. I would request permission to celebrate. We don’t mourn heroes, we celebrate heroes. And heroes don’t die. They multiply.”
The funeral was attended by Western Cape premier Alan Winde, community safety MEC Albert Fritz, the SA Human Rights Commission’s Chris Nissen and police top brass.
About 120 people attended the service inside the dimly lit church. The number was limited so mourners could observe Covid-19 regulations. The church can accommodate up to 2,000 people.
PODCAST | The killing of Charl Kinnear: a community demands justice
In his wide-ranging speech, Cele emphasised the need for the different spheres of government to work together in the fight against crime.
“I don’t think these criminals when they come they want anybody’s political party card,” he said.
“They have declared a war against humanity ... I think I heard you mfundisi (pastor Chris Nissen) saying there should be no revenge. I fully agree with you. But also I love to read my Bible in the old testament. I don’t read the Bible of cheek to cheek. No. I choose tooth for tooth. An eye for an eye. What luxury do you have to take out my eye and you stay with your two? Therefore, no police [officer] here is going to rest until we know what happened to Charl.
“No criminal is going to kill our police and go sleep in [his or her] house. There is a war here. War has dead bodies, this is evidence. We have found the war on the way. When you find a war, you don’t ask who started the war. You fight.”
He said the police were feeling “extra pain” in the Western Cape.
“I bury police ... I bury them with clean heart to say they were fighting against criminality on behalf of the nation. But ... this noise I keep hearing here that there might be some issues among and between ourselves, we will have to follow that,” he said.
“It can’t be normal that we begin to be hesitant and don’t know what to say and what to do when a member of the SA Police Service dies. It must be clear that it’s them and us. If you come here and you begin to be in between, choose. Be there or be here.
“The things that we have heard here, not just from the family, even from other members to say there are issues among and between the police here, must be followed to the letter. Hence, I have said to the national commissioner I want a full report. Send people to go and investigate and give us what happened and thereafter heads must roll.”
Cele said if he is also found to be at fault, his head must also roll.
“If things are done in wrong way and that includes me, nothing should spare my own head. We cannot and we shall not allow our people, women and men in blue, to be butchered and then we don’t know what happened,” he said.
“When I bury the police, I want to be clear that here we have suffered from the hands of the criminals.
“To me, these days have been more painful and the question that keeps coming is: How did he die? This question is asked again today. I said, I still say, I am not going to speculate on that because this has to be a proper report and proper consequences.”
Cele said Kinnear was not only investigating criminals but police as well.
“We know, that is why he was in Gauteng, dealing with our criminality. We have to really move the bar up ... It’s painful, and it is going to be painful, to work with it. But it does need to happen to say that we cleanse ourselves on the matters of not knowing what happened. There is something fishy here.”
Cele said answers about why Kinnear was stripped of security are needed urgently.
“That answer will have to be found, what really happened when criminals were found around his house with weapons, with grenades, but that man was left naked and vulnerable,” said Cele.
“Those answers must be found. It’s no use coming and crying here and acting as if there is no background of things that happened.”
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