KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen – who had been embroiled in a protracted legal battle over his suspension – has thrown in the towel and negotiated his retirement several months before his career as a policeman was to end.
Booysen on Tuesday afternoon confirmed that after reaching a settlement with the police, he had taken early retirement.
He did not provide further details and police spokesperson Brigadier Sally de Beer said the matter was an employer/employee one and they were “not prepared to deliberate on it in the media”.
But Booysen has been fighting attempts by the Hawks to suspend him, after he and more than 20 others from the now disbanded Cato Manor Serious and Violent Crimes Unit were in 2012 arrested on a raft of charges relating to their alleged running of a “death squad”.
Their trial is set down for later this year.
The State has come under fire for its prosecution of Booysen and his co-accused, with some calling it a “witch hunt”.
Booysen was investigating an alleged corrupt relationship between businessman Thoshan Panday and provincial police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni at the time of his arrest.
Booysen is currently involved in a high court bid to have the authorisation of the racketeering charges against him and his co-accused set aside.
This after the same charges were in 2014 found to be baseless and withdrawn.
News of his retirement comes in the wake of new court papers, filed recently in his high court bid, in which he accused the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams, of having ulterior motives and called the authorisation to prosecute him and his co-accused “irrational”.
“It is clear that the NDPP and his prosecutors are not interested in legality or rational conduct, only in prosecuting us, no matter the means,” Booysen said.
He said the decision to authorise the charges was irrational and “could only have been taken for an ulterior purpose”.
The case against them, Booysen said, rested on two deceased witnesses, a discredited witness, and a witness who was out of the country and whom the State had said it would not call.
“It is plainly irrational to authorise our prosecution on that basis. Advocate Abrahams could only have done so for an ulterior, political purpose,” he said.