Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Burger ‘has ties to the Russian’
March 9 2012 at 10:22am Foto24 In this file photo from January 2010, Staal Burger (in front) carries the coffin, with former police members, at the funeral of former head of Brixton Murder and Robbery Unit, Main van der Linde. The Cape Times tracked down Burger, who is now living in Somserset West, this week. Caryn Dolley STAAL BURGER, the former leader of an apartheid-era hit squad and one-time head of the police’s notorious Brixton Murder and Robbery Unit, has resurfaced and is living in Cape Town. And two sources with links to the underworld have told the Cape Times that he has ties to Igor “the Russian” Russol, the best friend of slain bouncer kingpin Yuri Ulianitski, who is in custody on charges of extortion, intimidation and theft. When the Cape Times tracked him down this week, Burger – whose real name is Daniel Ferdinand du Toit Burger – said he was acquainted with Russol. “I’ve met him and I know him. I know he had clubs and so on. I won’t say we became friends. I don’t know what happens behind those doors,” he said. Burger, who turns 70 this year and who now boasts the title of Sugarcane Farmer of The Year, denied having gone into business or working with Russol, as the sources said he had. He was following what was happening to Russol, since his arrest, through newspapers. “I think the less we say about the issue ...,” Burger said, without finishing his sentence. In the late 1990s and up until mid-2000, Burger’s name frequently made headlines for his role in the Civil Co-Operation Bureau (CCB), the government-sponsored hit squad which was formed under the South African National Defence Force, and which had operated under then-defence minister Magnus Malan. In recent years though, his name has appeared in the media only a few times. Burger laughed when asked about his low profile. “I’m around. I’m retired at the moment. Ja, those were the days. I’ve been retired for quite a while,” he said. Burger had been a sugarcane farmer in Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal, for about 15 years. “It was actually a wonderful time of our life. After all the previous years in the forces, I became Sugarcane Farmer of the Year,” he said with a chuckle. About three years ago he moved to the Western Cape and settled in the Boland area. “The old saying is: ‘You come back to your roots when you’re older.’ That’s what I’ve done. I had an adventurous life ... It’s wonderful to be back.” Asked where he lived, Burger politely replied that he did not wish to divulge this information. According to a deeds search, he lived in Somerset West. Whenever Burger mentioned the past, his voice took on a wary tone. In the 1990s it had emerged that he was a member of the CCB. Burger had been the regional manager of Region 6 of the CCB, the only CCB unit that had operated in SA. Other operatives linked to Region 6 included: Wouter Basson, Edward Webb, Pieter Johan Verster, Carl “Calla” Botha, Abram “Slang” van Zyl, Leon “Chappie” Maree and Ferdinand “Ferdie” Barnard. A deeds search on Burger showed he ran a close corporation, Staal Burger and Associates, registered in 1988. The search said the corporation was currently in business and listed active directors as Burger, Van Zyl, Maree and Botha. Twelve years ago the Truth and Reconciliation Commission announced that Burger and the seven other CCB operatives had applied for amnesty for various crimes. During a Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing in June 2000, Burger said he had been raised according to Afrikaner ideologies and had believed in apartheid. “In the light of the fact that crime fights crime, I would say to you today and to everybody who suffered under that, and including ourselves, we are sorry,” he had said. According to a report by the TRC amnesty committee in 2000, Burger had applied for amnesty for his roles in: l The explosion at the Early Learning Centre in Athlone on August 31, 1989, during which a few people suffered minor injuries. According to the TRC decision, the explosion was caused by detonating a limpet mine, hidden in a hall, by remote control. The centre had been used by, among others, the Kewtown Youth Committee and United Democratic Front (UDF) activists. l The conspiracy to assassinate then-UDF activist and former transport minister Dullah Omar. According to the TRC amnesty committee report, a Makarov pistol was to have been used to assassinate Omar when he arrived at his Athlone home. Later plans to poison him had then been scrapped. l The conspiracy to assassinate Gavin Evans, a journalist and member of the End Conscription Campaign. The plan, which was later aborted, had been to stab Evans to death. l The so-called Project Apie to intimidate or discredit Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. A baboon foetus had been obtained and one night had been hung in the grounds of Tutu’s residence in Bishop’s Court. The TRC amnesty committee’s decision report said Burger was only granted amnesty for the Tutu incident. He had also been named as an accomplice in the 1989 murder of Anton Lubowski, 37, secretary-general of the South West African People’s Organisation (Swapo) and an advocate, who was shot outside his home in Namibia. firstname.lastname@example.org Comments by Sonny From the Greeks to the Russians in two moves. He once too an oath - TO PROTECT AND SERVE! The photo portrays a group of funny bed fellows!