File picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA).

JOHANNESBURG -  The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) has expressed concern regarding confusion reflected in the media over its role in dealing with allegations about an informer who allegedly assisted in an investigation in Eastern Cape. 

The DPCI, commonly known as the Hawks, said it believed that it was necessary to set the record straight. 

“In June 2018 seven suspects were arrested for conspiracy to rob a reputable butchery in East London. The success was a result of positive information. A number of hijacked vehicles were also confiscated during the operation,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi. 

On Saturday, the Daily Dispatch ran an article titled: “Informer wants Hawks to pay for helping foil heist” which intensified the call for caution from the DPCI. 

“Whilst we respect the media freedom, it is critical that at every stage of this process it must be kept in mind that we are dealing with people’s lives and it is the responsibility of the media not to cross the line,” said Mulaudzi. 

The department also said that it would not confirm nor deny the existence of any informer in the matter as it would not be in the interest of justice as it would endanger witnesses. 

“The wisdom of publishing this type of information is questionable. It is unclear how publishing such information would have, if any, assisted the so-called informer," said Mulaudzi. 

"In a case where a legitimate informer was unhappy with the process, the best remedy would have been to refer him or her to the DPCI Judge who has powers in terms of section 17L (4) (a) of the South African Police Service Act of 1995.”  

African News Agency (ANA)