Cape Town - The appointment of Advocate Godfrey Lebeya as the new head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks, has been widely welcomed.
Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane made the announcement at a post-Cabinet media briefing in Parliament after the Cabinet made the appointment on Wednesday.
Lebeya, formerly the SAPS deputy national commissioner, joined the police service as a student constable in May 1984 and rose through the ranks.
“We believe he has the necessary qualifications and experience to lead the Hawks in a new era, where corruption-busting will be the number one priority,” Beukman said.
He noted that Lebeya has previously served the SAPS with distinction and has the police credentials to make a success of his new appointment.
“The committee believes that the new Hawks head will have to refocus the unit on transnational crime, the organised drug and, illegal firearms trade, and crime syndicates in the economic sector,” Beukman said.
The DA’s Zakhele Mbhele said his party also welcomed the appointment.
“He seems to be the most fit-for-purpose person for the job. We look forward to see his plans to turn around the Hawks,” Mbhele said.
David Lewis, executive director for Corruption Watch, said what he had heard about Lebeya were positive things which were yet to be tested in his new employment.
Lewis said the last three appointments of heads of Hawks had been encouraging only for questions of integrity to be raised.
“We are pleased with the appointment. It sounds positive. With the challenges that are there, lets see how it goes,” he said.
Even the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse added its voice in welcoming the appointment.
“A highly respected old-school police officer. We look forward to engaging with him regarding existing and upcoming charges,” Outa said.
Lebeya takes over from Lieutenant-General Yolisa Matakata, who was appointed acting in the position since April 2017.
The post became vacant when Major-General Mthandazo Ntlemeza was forced to quit after a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria found his appointment irregular and unlawful.
Lebeya, who holds a doctorate in law, previously served as head of detective services, was caught up in a legal wrangle over his job.
The City Press reported that he was a witness at an inquest into whether disgraced former top cop Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli was responsible for the death of Oupa Ramogibe.
He and another senior officer won a settlement in the Labour Court after being illegally fired by former top national commissioner Riah Phiyega.