Hawks make almost 30 000 arrests related to essential infrastructure crimes in six years

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 5, 2024


The Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks, has made 28410 arrests related to essential infrastructure crime leading to 2308 convictions over the last six years, according to Police Minister Bheki Cele.

Responding to parliamentary questions from Cope MP Teboho Loate, about combating infrastructure theft at state-owned entities such as Eskom, Transnet and Telkom, Cele said 20 economic infrastructure task teams were established throughout the country, and were operational since June 2022.

“A total number of 946 personnel were allocated to the 20 economic infrastructure task teams. The human resource requirements have been recruited or sourced from existing structures within each province, including districts and stations, and consist of experienced and knowledgeable personnel within their respective functional environments.”

He added that the Hawks had declared damage to essential infrastructure and crimes against the state, as priority offences.

“Specialised units within the serious organised crime investigations are dedicated to address economic crimes related to theft of fuel from Transnet pipeline, damage and sabotage to essential infrastructure,” Cele said.

He added that the SAPS had established the Energy Safety and Security Priority Committee as well as the National Logistics Crises Committee, to address matters within Eskom and Transnet, respectively, to ensure consistency in securing the national power grid and effective operation of the freight rail and port systems in the country.

The SAPS was also conducting a work study investigation on the viability of converting the economic infrastructure task teams into permanent units to address identified crimes within the economic infrastructure environment.

“This investigation will be completed before the end of the 2023-24 financial year to ensure the establishment of the units during 2024-25.”

Cele noted that the Hawks did not receive any economic crime cases in 2018, but investigated cases from 2019 to date.

“During the period 2018-19 to January 2023-24, there were therefore a total of 28410 arrests related to essential infrastructure crime in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act, and 2308 convictions,” he said.

Cape Times