Q&A with Francois Beukman, chair of the portfolio committee on police

The portfolio committee on police has called for an investigation into claims by Mcebisi Jonas that the Hawks tried to "kill" his bribery case against the Guptas. Chris Barron asked committee chair Francois Beukman...

02 September 2018 - 00:00 By CHRIS BARRON

Did you check if the Hawks were investigating his bribery claim after he first went public with it?
There was no formal complaint to the committee for us to investigate it. Complaints against the Hawks should be taken to the DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] judge.
I'm referring to his allegation that the Guptas tried to bribe him to be minister of finance. Did you check the Hawks were investigating it?
When was that?
He went public with the allegation about 18 months ago.
That matter wasn't directly before us.
Wasn't it your job as the oversight committee of the Hawks to ensure they were investigating it?
If there was a case laid with the DPCI and it was in the public domain, and it was one of the high-profile cases, and there were specific problems ... that wasn't brought to our attention.
Should you have asked the Hawks what was happening?
I can't recall that we made a specific call in that regard.
But you recall that Jonas made this extremely serious allegation?
It was in the media ...
Did you never wonder if the Hawks were investigating it?
There are hundreds of thousands of cases every day that's mentioned in the media. As far as I remember we didn't raise that specific case per se.
Did you never wonder if such a serious allegation was being investigated?
If people have got allegations of a serious nature they have got a duty to lay a complaint. If it's not properly investigated they can go to the DPCI judge or to IPID (the Independent Police Investigative Directorate). If it's a matter of huge national importance they can come to the portfolio committee. As far as I know that didn't happen.
Shouldn't you have ensured the Hawks were investigating it?
It wasn't on the table.
Wasn't it your job to make sure it was put on the table?
That is not the normal procedure. If it's a high-profile case then of course ...
Didn't you think this was a high-profile case?
There was no specific indication that there was an issue with regard to the investigation.
Shouldn't you have tried to find out if there was an investigation?
Well, like I say ...
Wasn't it a matter of national importance?
It's easy to make that call in hindsight, but at that stage it wasn't before us.
You said this week it's your job to ensure the Hawks act without fear or favour ...
Is this what they were doing when they went after Pravin Gordhan instead of investigating the Guptas or president Jacob Zuma?
If there's an investigation and a member of the public, including a minister, feels uncomfortable and that the Hawks are busy with another agenda rather than doing proper investigations, they must lay a complaint with the DPCI judge. The committee can't do that for individuals.

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