More than 15 804 cases are under investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations or the Hawks, with some taking more ten years to resolve. File picture.
Cape Town - More than 15 804 cases are under investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI), or the Hawks, with some cases involving state capture set to take more ten years to resolve.

Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya said investigators were working on more than 20 high-profile cases each that may require 200 statements from individuals.

Lebeya was speaking to the National Assembly committee on the police on Tuesday.

Lebeya said their mandate as the Hawks was to prevent, combat and investigate national priority offences focusing on, “serious organised crime, serious commercial crime and serious corruption”.

He said, Section 17A of the Constitution Act defined national priority offence as organised crimes, crime that required national prevention or investigation and crime that required specialised skills.

Lebeya said, due to their nature and complexity, “some cases may go beyond the estimated life cycle”.

Lebeya presented a sample of 20 cases which included the Vrede dairy farm project involving the Guptas and the Free State government officials.

“There case of a company known as Estina which entered into an agreement with the Free State Department of Agriculture to establish, implement and manage a dairy project in Vrede to benefit previously disadvantaged persons in the area.

“It was stated that in terms of the agreement, Estina was to provide a capital injection of R228million of which that never happened, and the case is before the court in Bloemfontein.

Another case is of an employee of the Department of Agriculture and the fund manager of the AgriBEE fund who approached a recipient of an AgriBEE grant and convinced him to deposit R2m into a trust account of an attorney in Witbank.

Lebeya said since August last year to November 22, this year about 285 arrests were made - 214 suspects remain in custody, 31 on bail and 21 people died.

“The matter has been withdrawn against six of the accused.”

He said 52 convictions were secured, 161 firearms and 116 vehicles were recovered.

The committee called for urgency in dealing with corruption and serious commercial crime investigations.

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman said it is unacceptable that some cases are still not prosecuted for up to eight years since initial reporting.

Beukman said the committee resolved to invite the executive authority of the Department of Justice and Correctional Services as well as the ministry of police to ascertain and remove blockages that hamper timely prosecutions.

“An efficiently working criminal justice system is necessary to deal with criminality and restore South Africa’s economic growth trajectory,” he said.


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Cape Argus