LISTEN | Hawks boss on why no prominent arrests for July 2021 unrest
Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya fielded queries over high-profile cases on their investigators' desks
Hawks head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya fielded tough questions after the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation press briefing on Tuesday.
Lebeya had called the briefing to outline and take stock of milestones achieved since his appointment in 2018. This was the first of its sort but the Hawks now intend to hold a briefing to correlate with the SA Police Service quarterly crime stats.
At the end of his speech journalists asked various questions on investigations and queries over the July unrest came up again and again. Most prominent: “Why have there been no high-profile arrests?”.
Lebeya responded that the Hawks had arrested half of the people in their sights.
“There are 43 arrests affected by the Hawks so far. If one can understand the complex nature of the investigation, the public should rest assured that nothing that appeared in the public [eye] was left unattended.
“There are certain things that appear in the [social] media space and we take note of these. The cases are packaged and tabled before the prosecution.
“Up to today we’ve arrested 50% of the people who played a role — I won’t indicate who the others are and I won’t rank them [in terms of their public standing]. In court they can be judged in terms of their role. We are not swayed by political authority.”
He said the Hawks will not be influenced by anyone.
“The final indictment will be determined by the NPA — these are preliminary charges on the accused, the investigations have not been completed. The final charge sheet is to be decided upon.”
In his briefing Lebeya outlined 45 major cases taken up between the 2018/19 and 2021/22 financial year.
Reporters asked why the Phala Phala investigation into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s farm break-in had not made it onto the list, and if the president had given his statement.
“As indicated, we have over 22,000 cases so I haven't mentioned each case we are dealing with. Most of the cases [I mentioned] have been finalised,” he responded.
"[Former spy boss Arthur] Fraser did make a statement and we have filed a statement in the docket. I won’t deal with who’s statement is filed — but it’s more than just the complainant.”
The Lt-Gen said the Hawks were not dealing with matters pertaining to the recent tavern killings. He said SAPS detectives were dealing with it and the Hawks would assist if they were called to.
In terms of the West Rand illegal mining operations, Lebeya said the directorate had intervened when it arranged the “takedown” operation at the beginning of the month with police and other stakeholders. More than 40 men were arrested in the raid that saw one alleged “zama zama” (illegal miner) killed.
He said while police and others dealt with illegal mining, the Hawks were looking at high-level people who were influencing the zama zamas.
He responded to queries about the capacity of the organisation by saying there would be hundreds hired in coming months.
“There are over 20,000 cases ... at this stage there are not enough of us. At the end of this month we will have recruited over 200 members, and the same next month until all vacancies are filled.”
He said cases were not handled by individuals but rather teams of investigators.
As for the state capture cases, Lebeya said a task team had been established for the investigations and all cases were being attended to.
Asked how self-proclaimed prophet Shepherd Bushiri managed to leave the country for Malawi while under investigation, he said: “We won’t be discussing that, as it forms part of the evidence to be led if authorities succeed in getting him back into SA.”
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