6. July 2009

South Africa: Hawks Will Leave No Stone Unturned to Fight Crime

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), to be known as the Hawks, will leave no stone unturned in efforts to combat crime and bring perpetrators to book.

"We commit to the responsibility bestowed on us to build peace in our communities and will do our work with integrity, without fear or favour," said the head of the new unit, Anwa Dramat.


Deputy Commissioner Dramat, who was appointed by the Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa, will head the new unit, which was officially launched on Monday.

"The launch of the DPCI comes at a time when our collective efforts are needed to send an emphatic message to criminals that crime does not pay," he said.

The new unit replaces the former Scorpions and will focus on fighting organised crime as well as criminal high-flyers who show little regard for the country's criminal justice system.

The DPCI has been tasked to prevent, combat and investigate national priority offences such as organized crime, corruption, economic crimes as well as any other crime referred to the Directorate by the South African Police Service's (SAPS) National Commissioner.

Deputy Commissioner Dramat said the fight against serious crime, economic crime and corruption required an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach.

"I want to reiterate that a genuine commitment to working together is the key ingredient to meeting our objectives. We have to move away from the silo approach that is prevalent in so many of the structures tasked with combating crime and corruption.

"We need to agree on a partnership and a multi-disciplinary approach that will benefit all South Africans," he said.

In a bid to reinforce its operations, the unit has formed a close working relationship with other departments, including Justice and Constitutional Development, National Treasury, including the Financial Intelligence Centre and the South African Revenue Service, and Home Affairs.

In February, former President Kgalema Motlanthe signed the South African Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Act and Section 43 of the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Act which allowed for the establishment of the unit and the transitional arrangements related to the Scorpions.

Among other things, the two Acts provide a mechanism for the transfer of the investigative capacity from the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO), to the SAPS which led to the establishment of the Hawks.

Since 1 April 2009, the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority have been working together to ensure a seamless transition from the DSO to the SAPS.
Joint Operational Management Teams were formed to manage the former DSO's cases jointly and have made extensive and detailed preparations to ensure that the handover of cases proceeds smoothly and that all operational needs will continue to be met.

These teams will continue to assist the Head of the DPCI to manage the cases until the directorate functional.

The organisational structure of the DPCI is in the process of being finalised, and it is envisaged that the functions of the SAPS's Organized Crime Unit, Commercial Crime Unit and the High Technology Project Centre will also be transferred to the DPCI.

Former DSO special investigators based at four of the five regional offices in Western Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Free State and the Head of the DSO have started relocating to identified SAPS premises. (South Scan)

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