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Hawks’ cybercrime investigation capacity insufficient – Cele

POLICE Minister Bheki Cele | Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

POLICE Minister Bheki Cele | Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

Published Nov 29, 2021


POLICE Minister Bheki Cele says the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) has embarked on a recruitment drive to address insufficient cybercrime investigations.

Cele revealed this when he was responding to parliamentary questions from National Freedom Party MP Mzwakhe Sibisi, who asked whether Cele had found that his department had sufficient capacity to deal with the investigations into the violence and looting that took place in July.

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Sibisi also enquired about steps the minister has taken and the reasons that the real perpetrators and masterminds behind the July unrest have not yet been identified or arrested.

In his response, Cele indicated that the capacity to investigate the criminal cases linked to the violence and looting is available, but it was not sufficient.

He said the investigation capacities included members specialising in serious and violent crimes and also members specialising in cybercrime related investigative support.

However, Cele said cybercrime has evolved into a distinctive and sophisticated phenomenon, which necessitated a highly skilled and specialised law enforcement response.

“The cybercrime investigation capacity, within DPCI, is not sufficient to address this anomaly. The DPCI has embarked on a recruitment and selection process,” he said.

“The insufficient capacity within the DPCI is not only limited to human capital but extends to the required investigation information technology tools.”

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He also said capacity in the DPCI cybercrime investigation environment was a strategic priority to ensure operational functionality and effective investigative capability.

“There is a further need to prioritise the investigation capacity which is created by the recently enacted Cybercrime Act, which provides that the Cabinet member who is responsible for policing must establish and maintain sufficient human and operational capacity to detect, prevent and investigate cybercrimes.”

According to Cele, the DPCI in collaboration with other SAPS divisions and the National Prosecuting Authority have prioritised the investigation and prosecution of the cases arising from the unrest and looting.

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“The DPCI and the other law enforcement agencies successfully resolved some of the investigations and some of the cases are trial ready.”

He also said the DPCI continued to investigate any possible instigator of violence relating to the July activities.

“Once there is sufficient evidence the attendance of the accused is secured in court.

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Up to date the SAPS and DPCI have secured the attendance of 18 accused persons for prosecution,” he said.

“The cases are currently before the court and the court will pronounce on its findings. If the findings are that of convictions, sanctions will be meted out. The investigations are ongoing and the possibility of additional arrests is not ruled out,” Cele said.

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