Hawks clinch 94% conviction rate in cases in fourth quarter

Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Published Jun 15, 2023


Cape Town – The Hawks have managed to secure a 94% conviction rate for the fourth quarter.

This was revealed during a media briefing by Hawks head Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya.

Going through a range of high-profile cases and the number of convictions, Lebeya said the Hawks had achieved a 94% conviction rate in the quarter.

He applauded the unit’s teams for their thorough investigation and for ensuring convictions and hefty prison sentences.

However, he stated that sentencing was completely at the discretion of the courts, and most times accused persons involved in financial and fraud crimes received suspended sentences or fines.

“During the fourth quarter, the directorate arrested at least 701 suspects that were successfully secured before the various courts across the country. A total of 284 accused persons were convicted and sentenced, which earned them the title of being a criminal.

“Thirty-eight suspects were arrested by the directorate for cash-in-transit (CIT) heists while four were convicted and sentenced during this quarter. Over and above this, 30 suspects were arrested for CIT-related offences.

“A total of 13 suspects were arrested for the murder of police officials while six were convicted and sentenced to share 10 life imprisonment terms,” Lebeya said.

“The directorate continues to jointly respond to those who committed crimes relating to the Covid-19 Relief Fund as co-ordinated at the ‘fusion centre’ housed at the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).

“As of the end of May, 2023 a total of 194 suspects were brought to book. Of these, 49 out of 52 accused were convicted which represents a 94% conviction rate,” Lebeya said.

During the briefing, Lebeya highlighted 32 cases which represented only 3% of the 985 successes.

In light of the 32 cases, 19 cases were convictions and 13 were arrests. In the 19 cases of convictions recorded, 116 criminals were convicted for their crimes while in the 13 arrest cases, 39 suspects were arrested.

“These 39 suspects are now added to their co-accused on the court roll which makes 75 accused persons in these 13 cases, an average of six accused per case,” Lebeya said.

One of the cases Lebeya highlighted was the arrest of 87 illegal miners on October 20, 2021. The operation led by the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation Unit, assisted by the Special Task Force and the District Illicit Mining Task Team at Shaft 2 in Orkney, culminated in months of surveillance after the illegal miners took control of a dormant shaft.

During the operation, a shootout ensued between the illegal miners and officers, resulting in the death of six illegal miners with eight wounded.

“The officers seized illegal mining paraphernalia, gold bearing material, two minibuses, 11 firearms – three rifles, three shotguns, four pistols, and a revolver – about 4 000 cartridges of ammunition, and bags of food,” Lebeya said.

On March 30, 2023 the 87 accused were sentenced to a combined 696 years’ imprisonment in the Stilfontein Regional Court.