Senior Hawks official fingered in crime intelligence report
The head of the unit, Lieutenant-Colonel Gavin Jacob, is being investigated for allegedly sabotaging investigations into one of Durban’s notorious gangs - The Bloods - which operates largely in Phoenix and is run by brothers Kalvin, 29, and 36-year-old-Kevin “Cheesy” Periasamy.
They were arrested during a drug raid in January by the SAPS provincial headquarters organised crime unit, and remain in police custody. Four other members handed themselves in last week.
The report, conducted by the crime intelligence unit, looks at how 131 cases against gang members had been withdrawn between 2010 and 2017. They were also found not guilty in 45 other cases.
It stated that attempts were made to prosecute the gang members in the past, but failed. This was mainly due to witness intimidation, withdrawal of statements, witnesses or complainants who disappeared, police interference, and cases which were never prosecuted.
The report also revealed that Jacob allegedly had a friendship with the brothers and apparently compromised the unit’s major investigations.
It shows a pattern in which certain members who reported to Jacob handled the cases against the gang even though they were not mandated.
The national spokesperson for the Hawks, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, said the allegations were serious and would be investigated.
“We do not condone such behaviour. We have not seen this report as yet, but whoever it is sitting with needs to take action. We will look into the allegations and it will be escalated to the national office,” said Mulaudzi.
Jacob conceded he was being investigated and welcomed the probe into himself and his members who were implicated. He denied having a close relationship with the brothers.
He said Kalvin had been an informer since 2016.
Jacob said he had provided information regarding drugs and hit men, which resulted in two arrests. He said he had spearheaded operations against Kevin. He also denied other allegations.
“This is a conspiracy to tarnish my reputation and defame me. A certain drug dealer, along with corrupt police officials, are trying to have me removed from my position as they view me as a threat.”
Advocate Kailvani Govender, deputy director of public prosecutions for the Organised Crime Component in Durban, said her office was guiding and prosecuting matters against Kalvin Periasamy and his associates on various charges.
“We have not encountered the 176 dockets where the charges have been withdrawn or not prosecuted under questionable circumstances and have not seen the report.”
She said the National Prosecuting Authority prosecuted matters without fear, favour or prejudice. “We ensure there is justice for the victims of crime. If a matter is withdrawn in court, it means the investigation is incomplete or there is no evidence linking the accused to the offence. When the investigation is finalised, the matter will be reinstated. If the matter was set down for trial and the witnesses could not be traced, the matter will be withdrawn.”
Community activist Sam Pillay of the Chatsworth Anti-Drug Forum said it has been known for many years that some police officials have been protecting drug dealers, but there was never solid evidence against them.
“This report should be used to set an example. We need the NPA on board so that incidents of cases disappearing or being withdrawn don’t happen.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele’s spokesperson, Reneilwe Serero, said the SAPS had launched the Anti-corruption Strategy on June 29 to deal with such issues, including prevention, detection, investigation and resolutions to tackle corruption within the ranks.
Serero said if Mulaudzi said the matter would be escalated to national level, it would be.
Meanwhile, the Periasamy brothers had an appeal for bail turned down in the Durban High Court last week.
Their attorney, Chris Gounden, said he was preparing to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal. He alleged that the charges were “trumped up” and police had duplicated offences to make the charge sheet look full.