Foreword by Daniel Sutherland
The Sunday Times's new editor Bongano Siqoko last Sunday retracted the Sunday Times's fake news so called " hitsquad " story that depicted the erstwhile Cato Manor Organized Crime Unit as a hitsquad.
He apologized and admitted it was a totally fake narrative and that they were misled by their sources.
I have also written my own article on this subject so wont go into it further.
Captain Neville Eva was a member of the Cato Manor Organized Crime Unit.
He died in 2012 from a bacterial infection of his heart.
Nobody will ever know how the stress from his illegal arrest impacted his health.
Captain Eva was a dedicated cop who solved high profile cases.
He was the sort of cop who served the community by thoroughly and honestly investigating the cases assigned to him.
He was the shining example of the sort of cop we need.
He was a hero.
He was a dad and he was a hero to his 2 sons.
He was certainly not a " hitsquad " member.
These open letters by Dale and Ashton Eva reminds us of the sort of man Captain Neville Eva was and how the Sunday Times's fake news impacted their lives.
Another former Cato cop , Captain Vincent Auerbach, a fit man just 40 years old, died in January 2013 from a heart attack which could have only been stress induced as he knew that he was innocent but yet faced criminal trial for something he did not do.
READ : Second Cato Manor Cop Dies
It's been a long six year since the Sunday Times destroyed my dad's and his colleagues names with pictures and proclamations splattered all over the front page of the Sunday times thanks to two journalists that clearly don't have any back bones or integrity.
Remember that those journalists are the ones that have contributed and allowed the crime in South Africa to soar and hundreds of innocent people to suffer at the hand of criminals who were allowed to run rampant, and all this for a trophy!
I don't know how any South African that is proud of their country can do this to its people.
On a personal level my family and I will never forget that day the day that it seemed like the whole country turned its back on my dad who had dedicated his whole life to the police and thanks to them and the Sunday Times he is no longer with us.
As a family it was very difficult as we didn't understand what went wrong why they were being compared to the Vlakplaas.
Why were they saying they were a hit squad??
But deep down, we always knew the truth - that he was innocent and that he and his colleagues were collateral damage for political and monetary gain for corrupt politicians, government officials and criminals and all because they were doing their jobs.
On the Friday Morning before the article was to be printed it was heartbreaking for me personally as he told us what was about to happen and it seemed that my dad felt like he had let us down, that he had failed to protect us.
He wore his heart on his sleeved and called all the people that meant something to him, he knew that the article was being printed and would be published for the country to see.
I will never forget that look in his eyes, the heartbreak that all his long hours of hard work, putting his life on the line as he faced the worst of society on a daily basis and all the sacrifice he had made were for nothing as his world came crashing down because the editors were chasing a prize and serving a hidden agenda?
However I could see that he had a new fight he was about to take on a new breed of criminal the very same institution that employed him, and if you ask anyone that knew my dad he was never ever going to lose this fight he would fight tooth and nail and put in all the hours necessary as would never allow anyone to get the better of him especially if he was not in the wrong.
My dad had always had a very high code of moral ethics and he totally believed in our Justice system and the rule of law.
He told us there and then that the truth would come out in the end but it is going to be a very hard long road and that we must stand strong in the face of adversity.
We as a family will never give the satisfaction to the captured men of the Sunday Times.
We know the truth and we have never been ashamed - but rather proud of my Dads integrity and what he stood for which was everyone is entitled to Justice and that every South African deserves to live in a country where they feel safe and not terrorized by criminals.
All my dad ever wanted - and said to me is "give us our day in court let them write whatever they want."
I challenge the captured men to put this all to bed and reveal your sources let the country see their names splattered all over the Sunday Times because the truth will truly set you free.
"Sorry" is never going to be enough.
Just how much blood is on your hands?
Remember this: You never just attacked 30 men, you attacked their families, their wives and their children.
We have been quite for six years but I can promise you this: I will not allow the people that destroyed my father's name to think that by them saying a simple I am "sorry we got it wrong" is ever going to be good enough - it will NEVER be!
I am Ashton Eva. the son of a hero.
I will always stand tall and will never stop fighting until the courts finally decide to look at the facts/reality/truth and clear my father and members of the Cato Manor Units name.
I believe in the Justice of this land...
How the "death squad" allegations have impacted my life.
Let me attempt to summarise 6 years of mental and emotional torture into one article for those who are reading this.
Those who are family members of law enforcement officers might be able to relate:
I think it's a fair assumption to say that every single person has had a favourite superhero at some stage in their lives.
Regardless of whether that superhero shot webs out of his hands or flew in the sky, the story would always end by the superhero saving the day, and the people believing the world was a safer place with them around.
I had the opportunity to be raised by such a man, one who had saved lives and is seen as a hero by the victims and family members of the people whose lives he had saved and changed, and who believed they were safe knowing that their are police officers out there such as the members of the Cato Manor Durban Organised Crime Unit and in particular my father that didn't stop until those responsible for the most gruesome of crimes would have justice served to them.
Take that away, what happens?
The criminals that are murdering, and raping the people you care about do it without second guessing whether or not they will get away with the crime, there's no fear of repercussion to those who are responsible without these heroes.
I saw my father work days with no sleep in order to save lives, and then get accused of being a member of death squad unit as a "thank you" for that, its not an easy a task to deal with.
It hits you emotionally in ways not many people can understand.
My father made sacrifices for our family every day, and for the public.
He sacrificed his life every time he went to catch the people who you read about in the news and think to yourself "how can someone do that to another person"... nice thank you!
Newspapers and in particular journalists who got fed news that the country had a death squad on their hands, failed to investigate, failed to follow the audi alteram partem rule that criminal investigators are obliged to follow.
To let the other side be heard means to investigate the accusations and find out if it's true before you post nonsense into the media!
You have unethical people who with these allegations changed everything... who are responsible for affecting my life, who are responsible for the death of my father and other members of the unit and even family members of the unit.
I was 15 years old when I walked outside of my house one morning with my mother and brother to find about 12 heavily armed officers surrounding our house and blocking off access to our road.
They were searching for my father so they could arrest him, let me add that they were following orders so I don't blame them at all for that, they were doing their job, but I do blame them for ransacking our house and threatening my mother as she tried to protect us and I blame their superiors who failed to tell them the Cato Manor Unit were ready to hand themselves over and were at their offices in Victoria Embankment.
It was an absolute show of force and intimidation for the media and they took great delight in causing terror and embarrassment to all the families.
I was stopped from leaving the house and did not make my mid-year exam at school that day.
Our fathers/husbands/friends were waiting to hand themselves over with their attorneys and they were willing to go freely without any hassle, again that's a testament to these heroes', even though they knew these allegations are going to affect their reputations and more importantly were 100% false.
Again like on so many occasions they were putting the well-being and comfort of others before themselves.
Sometimes I think those responsible for these allegations went out their way to make our lives hell.
I would like to personally thank Sunday Times for finally posting the truth, it only took you 6 years to admit something that many people already knew from day one and that was that you were wrong.
To the Editor of the Newspaper: the fact that you were brave enough to step up and tell the truth knowing that there are a lot of big and powerful people who are not going to be happy that you aren't afraid of them is something I'm eternally grateful for.
Those who got rewards and collected money as "gifts" and even promotions, YOU ARE RESPONIBLE FOR MURDER...
The fact that you didn't have a physical object to take away lives is the only reason you aren't seen as a murderer.
Have that on your conscience for the rest of your lives.
To the families and people that haven't second guessed the legality at any stage of the heroic acts that these heroes did to save our lives, I personally thank you for your gracious support.
The fight is not over yet and as my dad used to say lets "bite the bullet" and keep persevering that the courts will finally see the truth.