Johannesburg - Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) on Friday slammed the Hawks over the latter's announcement that it was willing to cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) probe into the controversial Gupta family.
Reports emerged on Thursday that the bureau has been investigating the family's financial transactions for a couple of months now.
According to local media reports, the FBI's investigation is centered on the Gupta brothers' nephews, Ashish and Amol, who are US-based.
UK authorities are reportedly also looking into the family's financial dealings, and specifically looking into links with banks such as HSBC and Standard Chartered.
The Hawks confirmed they would be willing to cooperate with the FBI's investigation.
Popcru in a statement said it was taken aback by this announcement from the elite crime fighting unit.
"This at a time when no sign of investigation has taken place within our very country which has had to bear the brunt of these multiple allegations and the many challenges they brought about.
"Allegations of state capture and corruption have been a topical issue of concern for many South Africans and beyond, yet our own institutions have chosen to downplay it for so long, only to agree to cooperate with the FBI recently. This is a direct attack on the South African public, and it further undermines their thinking rights.
Popcru slammed the Hawks for eroding citizens' faith in their crime fighting abilities with this announcement, adding that by agreeing to cooperate with the FBI, the unit had rendered itself a "subsidiary" of the bureau.
The Hawks meanwhile, responded to Popcru's allegations, denying it had received any request from "any foreign law enforcement" in relation to the investigation.
"If we are approached following proper procedures, we are willing to cooperate [but] we have not received any request.
"Unfortunately in response to the Hawks investigations, we have a policy not to discuss matters that are under investigation. However we want to put it on record that despite our countless public pronouncements about the investigations it is disheartening that we are working in this dark cloud of public perception that work is not being done."
Speaking of the Hawks' own probe, spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi added that a lot of work had been covered and that more members had been added to enhance numerous investigations linked to the family.