/ 29 November 2022

Drugs, corruption and fraud account for bulk of Hawks arrests in second quarter

Getting To Know New Hawks Boss Lt Gen Lebeya
Hawks head Godfrey Lebeya also announced new appointments to boost the directorate’s capacity, including Lieutenant General Siphesihle Nkosi, who becomes its deputy head. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sunday Times/Alaister Russell)

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) made 827 successful arrests relating to drugs, corruption and fraud in the second quarter of 2022, with 217 convictions, its head Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya said on Tuesday.

Lebeya also announced new appointments to boost the directorate’s capacity, including Lieutenant General Siphesihle Nkosi, who becomes the deputy head of the Hawks, effective from 1 November.

Seven senior managers and 244 people from junior to middle level management have also recently been appointed, Lebeya said, with the Hawks set to appoint five more senior managers as of 1 December and three more as of 1 January.

“The DPCI [Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation] has grown from the last time when we announced that we are operating under 50% and today marks the second public update of successes achieved by the DPCI.”

The elite, independent unit in the South African Police Service investigates priority crimes such as cash-in-transit robberies, theft of fuel from Transnet pipelines, drug trafficking, human trafficking, corruption, commercial crimes, organised crimes, cybercrime and money laundering.

On Tuesday, Lebeya said most arrests in the second quarter were from serious organised crime investigations, which accounted for 524 arrests, followed by serious commercial crimes with 206 arrests and serious corruption investigations at 97 arrests. He said 217 convictions out of 524 arrests had been attained, with serious organised crime taking the lead at 128 convictions.

“Serious corruption continues to resurface as one of the biggest threats posed by criminals in our beloved country,” the Hawks boss said.

He highlighted the arrest of seven suspects in the Winnie Mandela Museum corruption case in the Free State. 

Between January 2008 and December 2010,  the department of sports, arts and culture  allocated money to the Brandfort Museum project — popularly known as the Winnie Mandela Museum — but service providers were appointed without following proper procurement processes, leading to the department losing R700 000 in fraudulent activities. 

Lebeya also cited the arrest of officials at the Mpumalanga department of public works and their business associates for corruption, fraud and money laundering. They include deputy chief director Sipho Ronny Monareng, Macdonald Boto Sigudla, state accountant Bandile Jacob Ngcebo and their business associates Maganeleng Antony Mashego, Whisky Delisa Khumalo and Tshidi Suzen Sedibe.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, Monareng colluded with the company directors who misrepresented and submitted claims to the department of public works for the services which were never rendered, thus prejudicing the department with an amount of R1.38 million,” said Lebeya.

“On the 16th of November we were sitting at a total of 246 cases relating to Covid-19; 117 accused persons were already secured before the courts and 38 court cases were already finalised, of which 36 were finished with convictions, showing 90% conviction in cases related to Covid-19 related funds.” 

He said 24 suspects had been arrested and six convictions secured — with a combined sentence of 248 years imprisonment — in connection with cash-in-transit heists.

“The Hawks will continue to execute its duties without fear, favour and prejudice,” Lebeya vowed.