More South Africans than foreigners arrested for crimes, Hawks third quarter update reveals

Hawks Head Lieutenant General Dr Godfrey Lebeya shares 2023/24 third quarter progresses and successes. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Hawks Head Lieutenant General Dr Godfrey Lebeya shares 2023/24 third quarter progresses and successes. Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 20, 2024


The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations’ (DPCI) third quarter update for the 2023/24 financial year has revealed that more than 82.5% South Africans were arrested mostly for fraud, as compared to foreign nationals.

Hawk’s head, Lieutenant General Dr Godfrey Lebeya, announced yesterday at a briefing on the organisation’s progress and successes, that fraud alongside, crimes involving precious metals and diamonds, narcotics, non-ferrous metals and corruption were regarded as the top five national priority crimes.

Lebeya said they had managed to make as many as 724 arrests, including 156 for fraud involving 15 companies; 64 for precious metals and diamonds; 67 arrests for narcotics; 51 for non-ferrous metals and 51 corruption-elated arrests.

Out of the 705 arrests, he said 582 South Africans were nabbed as compared to 123 foreign nationals who were held for committing some of the top five priority crimes.

At the same time, the Hawks were able to seize precious metals and diamonds, endangered species, vehicles, cash, firearms, ammunition, counterfeit goods, explosives and electronic devices worth R102 614 521.

Over and above the arrests and convictions, the Hawks in collaboration with the Asset Forfeiture Unit, managed to obtain 92 orders to the tune of R 39 642 652.

Lebeya commended the work done to secure 229 convictions, especially with regards to fraud and corruption. These include the conviction and 4 855 years’ imprisonment for 50-year-old Hildegard Antoinette Steenkamp for defrauding her former employer, a pharmaceutical company, of more than R500 million.

Arrested in December 2017, Steenkamp was recently convicted by the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 335 charges of fraud, grouped into three categories. Her sentences will run concurrently, leaving her with an effective 50 years’ imprisonment sentence.

The arrests of eight people for money laundering and theft of R24 million at the South African State Theatre, as a result of two employees flouting the supply chain management processes, were also highlighted during the briefing in Pretoria.

Corrupt authority figures and departments were also among the highlighted cases, including the arrest of 11 Northern Cape health officials who caused the Health Department to suffer a loss of R26 960 025 meant for procuring personal protective equipment (PPE).

In addition, three former members of the Office of the Chief Justice will again be appearing in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on March 6 for violation of the Public Administration Management Act relating to a subcontract amounting to R225 000 000.

Lebeya also mentioned the arrest of three more people namely Thabo Mothogoane, Rosihah Ngoveni and Thapelo Molatlhegi, in relation to the R150 million VBS corruption investigation of the Lepelle-Nkumpi Local Municipality in 2017.

South Africa - Pretoria - 19 February 2024. The Police Minister Bheki Cele hands over a fleet of cars to the National Head for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya at the DPCI Head Office in Silverton.Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Following the update, the Hawks also received a much-welcomed boost in their resources as the police minister also handed over a fleet of cars to the directorate at their offices in Silverton.

The Star