Cape Town – With every sound and the slightest noise in the middle of night, she fears this could be the moment she and her family will be killed.
Nicolette Kinnear, wife of Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear, a top police investigator attached to the Anti-Gang Unit, says she is speaking out because their lives are in danger after police protection at their home had been withdrawn.
She said her worst fears were confirmed on November 23 when police guarding their house apprehended a suspect in possession of a hand grenade in front of their house.
“A week before the attack, the existence of the hit list came to light and we were immediately placed under 24-hour police guard. You don’t sleep and the slightest noise awakens you.
“On November 23, we heard voices and immediately both my husband and I got up. The phone rang and it was the operational room saying they’ve caught someone outside with a grenade,” she said.
“A numbness dropped over me. My first instinct was my boys. I shouted for both of them. Our road was cordoned off and we were instructed we had to wait for the Bomb Squad.”
Police first arrested Faeez Smith outside Kinnear’s home and later arrested a second suspect, Amaal Jantjies. The pair are facing a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
Kinnear has investigated alleged underworld figures including Nafiz Modack and Colin Booysen, as well as the murder of lawyer Pete Mihalik.
According to Nicolette Kinnear, the police officers that were guarding their home were withdrawn on December 19. She added that the family was not consulted by police management about the decision.
“I feel disappointed and betrayed as we are in this space because of my husband doing his job.
“Our family is no longer protected and I don’t think these people realise what it does to a mother to see your kids freeze at the sound of breaking glass or gunshots on the TV. My husband was trained to fall on to the floor if shots are fired at our house and how to deal with dangerous situations.”
SA Police Union spokesperson Graham Daniels said he was shocked to hear the police protection at Kinnear’s house had been withdrawn.
“This places the life of the police officer and his family in danger. We need to gather more information on why the decision was taken and who gave the order.”
Trade union Solidarity spokesperson Ronel Stander said they, too, were seeking answers as to why the protection services at Kinnear’s house were withdrawn.
“Lieutenant-Colonel Kinnear is known for working with high-profile cases. Solidarity wants to know who gave the order to remove the personal safety at this house and what was the motive behind it,” Stander said.
National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo did not respond.
Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said information of this nature was not shared with the media and problems regarding the protection of members were dealt with internally. The bail application of the two suspects was heard on Tuesday in the Bishop Lavis Magistrate’s Court. The State opposed bail and the matter will continue today.