From the Wrong Side of the Tracks...CHAPTER 16 | 1986 Murder and Robbery

After a few years with the Reaction / Riot Squad, I decided I wanted to become a detective. I have had enough of all the Rambo stuff and fighting riots. The Riot Squad was an elite unit containing great colleagues and friends, but it was time to move on. I had a lot of resistance from the Colonel in charge of the Riot Squad. He refused to approve my application for a transfer. In the end, I was forced to go and see the police chaplain and completed a required grievance procedure. Only after the completion of the grievance procedure, the Colonel allowed me to leave the Riot Squad.

I started working at the East London Murder and Robbery Unit. I was on probation whilst in training. It was an exceptional training school. I had the privilege of training under some of the best Murder and Robbery investigators in South Africa. Our Commander, a captain at the time, used to be with the Brixton Murder & Robbery unit in Johannesburg before becoming the head of the East London Murder and Robbery Unit. To be honest, everybody – black, white and coloured members  – were top-notch investigators. To this day, I am grateful for the investigative training I received from them. It had helped me a lot in the years that followed.

One example they set, that I will forever remember, was the determination these guys had displayed in their quest to solve a murder. In one instance, they took me along on a murder investigation, headed by the Captain. The scenario was as follows. A school teacher from King William’s Town had stopped on the highway between King Williams Town and East London. He picked up two hitchhikers. At some stage along the way, whilst in transit, the hitchhiker had shot and killed the teacher. It was a head shot at close range. At the time of the shooting, the teacher was driving and his motor vehicle was in motion. The suspects dumped the teacher’s body and stole the vehicle. It was the first murder investigation I in which I became involved.

For four days, we followed up on information we had gathered. We travelled from East London to the murder scene. There was hardly time to eat and even less to sleep. We tracked the first suspect to Welkom and, on the fifth day after the murder, arrested him.

From there, the investigation took us to Gauteng. Two days after our arrival in Gauteng, we arrested the second suspect at a mine hostel. He was still in possession of the firearm he had used to kill the teacher. By day eight after the murder, both suspects were in custody and charged with the murder of the schoolteacher. During all this time, I would say that I was more a spectator rather than a participator. I was watching and learning how it was done. I learnt a lot. And I learnt it quickly.

During my time at Murder and Robbery, they sent me on another border trip. This time I was sent to the Lesotho border. During the three months I was there, I started thinking. The more I thought, the more I wanted to become a Narcotics cop. When I got back from my Border trip, I applied for a post at (SANAB) South African Narcotics Bureau.

To my delight, I was accepted. I transferred from Murder and Robber to SANAB.

Amoure Kleu Author, Andre Els Chapter 16, From the wrong side of the tracks, Murder and Robbery Squad

Image by Amy from Pixabay

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