From the Wrong Side of the Tracks...CHAPTER 21 | Organised Crime Intelligence Unit

At the end of 1992, I was approached by the Intelligence Commander of the then-newly formed Organised Crime Intelligence Office in Cape Town.

I was offered a position. I accepted it and was transferred to Cape Town, where I joined up with the Organised Crime Intelligence Unit. The unit exclusively worked on investigating crime syndicates. After a crime syndicate group was identified, they would also work in conjunction with other specialised units that were still in existence at that time. For instance, the narcotics unit, motor vehicle theft unit and commercial crime units, but to name a few. The Organised Crime Intelligence unit infiltrated agents into the identified syndicates and was the handler of the infiltrated agents. Audio wire and/or video intercepts were used.

I was working with the undercover drug investigations of the unit. It was a whole new world of investigation methods, as the criminals constantly upgraded to new technology and methods. We had to adapt fast to keep up and stay one step ahead. I successfully completed several courses, comprising Syndicate Investigations methods, Money laundering investigations, Agents and Handlers Courses, as well as Interviewing skills.

Having become a detective a few years before, I was sent on a detectives course and crime scene investigations course. Also, when I joined SANAB I was sent on a Narcotics Course and Narcotics investigation methods. Now I received the training again, but this time it was more advanced.

We had lectures with the American DEA. Listening to them, we realised we were years behind when it came to resources, but we had to make do with what we had. I learned a lot and was involved in a few syndicate investigations with good results during my first year with the unit.

One incident that will stay with me happened whilst working on a drug syndicate in the Cape Flats. I stumbled onto a gang that traded in weapons. One of my informants arranged a meeting with the gang for me.

I met with them in the township, posing as an illegal weapons dealer wanting to buy some automatic weapons. They showed me what I can only describe as an ‘arsenal’. I asked them if they could get me specific types of automatic rifles. They said no problem. The plan was to buy from them and then, on the second purchase, arrange a sting and arrest them. We set the date for the morning of the tenth of April 1993, which turned out to be the same day Chris Hani, the leader of the South African Communist Party, was assassinated.

The day before the meeting, I woke up and decided that I was going to drive to East London. There was no reason for me to go to East London. It was just something told me ‘get in your car and go’.

The test buy was the next day, but I decided to contact my colleague who was involved in this deal with me. I told him I was leaving and that we could do the deal in the following week. I drove to East London, got myself a fishing rod, and went fishing. The Hani assassination was all over the news.

We did not have cell phones at that stage, just pagers. That evening, I received about five messages from my colleague in Cape Town. I ignored it and only contacted him the next afternoon. He told me he was very glad I cancelled the weapons buy, as one of the gang members of the syndicate I was going to buy the weapons from was arrested for a robbery and he was in possession of a stolen firearm. During his interrogation, he came out with the story that they were waiting for a person to come and buy weapons from them and that they would have shot this person and robbed him of the money he was going to pay them and also take his car.

That person was me. These type of spur-of-the-moment decisions I have made from time to time, saved me from harm a few times.

On further interrogation of the suspect, it led to the arrest of his entire gang and the recovery of a large cache of stolen weapons and ammunition found at their houses and confiscated.

At the end of that year in Cape Town, I was asked if I would like to go back to East London and help start an Organised Crime Intelligence Office there. I accepted.

Amoure Kleu Author, Andre Els Chapter 20, From the wrong side of the tracks, Boxing Comeback

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