Probe into Hawks’ ties with criminals

Low-Key Presence: The two buildings used as offices by the Hawks organised crime unit in Shirley street Newton Park
Low-Key Presence: The two buildings used as offices by the Hawks organised crime unit in Shirley street Newton Park

The Hawks in Port Elizabeth are under investigation for being in cahoots with the criminals they are meant to arrest.

The serious allegations against the Hawks – details of which have been provided by officials and investigators – include the elite unit’s officers colluding with criminal syndicates, leaking information to them so they can cover their tracks, and being paid by their informants to target rivals.

The probe was confirmed by acting Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi yesterday.

“This inquiry is sensitive. All corrupt activities are viewed in a serious light and need to be handled with caution,” he said. Asked what the investigation was focusing on, Mulaudzi said: “The inquiry deals with a wide range of issues.”

But investigators and officials who work with the Hawks on a daily basis said corruption was rife in the Port Elizabeth office, with officers “running amok”.

The investigators and officials, who declined to be named, independently told The Herald that the investigation was looking at:

  • Hawks officials, who specialise in perlemoen- and rhino-poaching investigations, being in cahoots with the criminal syndicates they investigate;
  • Sensitive information about high-profile cases being leaked to warring syndicates, leading to raids turning up little or no evidence;
  • Hawks officials being paid by informants to target rival individuals; and
  • Some officials turning a blind eye when state-paid confidential informants commit crimes.

Mulaudzi said: “We denounce any form of corruption.

“Once all the evidence has been collected and points to any of our members, we will not show any mercy but make sure that they face the full might of the law.

“In essence, it means our investigations are not only concentrated in the Port Elizabeth offices but also the surrounding areas.”

He declined to name any of the people under investigation.

Some Hawks investigators have over the past few months asked for a transfer due to “rampant corruption”.

The Port Elizabeth office is in Newton Park, but officials conduct investigations across South Africa.

– Gareth Wilson

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