Seven of the eight suspects who appeared at the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court in connection with charges of fraud and corruption related to the controversial Vrede dairy farm project. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/ANA

Cape Town - The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) need greater support in order to deal effectively with serious organised crime and corruption.

This is according to Parliament's portfolio committee on police which on Friday welcomed a spate of high-profile arrests by the DPCI related to corruption allegations at different levels of government in the last 48 hours.

The Hawks arrested seven people this week and are actively hunting Ajay Gupta who is reportedly on the run from authorities.

The suspects, seven of who appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on Thursday, are accused of corruption relating to millions of rand meant to benefit poor locals in the Free State but which was allegedly siphoned off for the benefit of the controversial Gupta family. The Guptas have a close relationship with former president Jacob Zuma and his son Duduzani.

Read: #VredeDairy case: These are the accused and the charges they face

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Chairperson of the committee, Francois Beukman, said on Friday that there is a legislative responsibility and public interest on the DPCI to deal effectively with cases of corruption and serious crime, including commercial crime.  

"Serious organised crime and corruption threatens the state and national security and should be dealt with head-on by the DPCI, Beukman said.

"The statement added that the committee firmly believes that the creation of a separate Budget Vote for the DPCI, as recommended by the Committee in 2017, will further strengthen operational effectiveness and ability of the DPCI to deal with organised crime. 

"The Acting Head of the DPCI, Lt General Yoliswa Matakata and her team should be commended for their swift and decisive action. Many of the complex cases take many months to investigate and case officers put a lot of effort to ensure that court-ready dockets are finalised," he added.

He further said that the DPCI needs support from all law-abiding citizens and members of the public, and urged members of the public to assist with the necessary information in fighting priority crimes and to contact the DPCI.

DPCI management will brief the committee on high-profile cases and other serious crime cases on February 28.

African News Agency/ANA