Hawks secure over 700 arrests in third-quarter progress

The National Head for Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

The National Head for Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 19, 2024


In the third quarter of the 2023/2024 financial year, fraud remained at the top of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) national priority offences.

The Hawks’ head, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, announced earlier today during a briefing on the organisation’s progress and successes that fraud and crimes involving precious metals and diamonds, narcotics, non-ferrous metals and corruption, were regarded as the top five national priority crimes.

Lebeya revealed, however, that they had managed to make as many as 724 arrests, including 156 for fraud involving 15 companies, 64 for precious metals and diamonds, narcotics with 67 arrests, 51 for non-ferrous and 51 corruption-related arrests.

At the same time, the Hawks seized precious metals and diamonds, endangered species, vehicles, cash, firearms, ammunition, counterfeit goods, explosives and electronic devices worth R102 614 521.89.

Despite fears that foreign nationals were at the core of the country’s surging criminal activity and violence woes, the directorate stressed that the majority of the crimes were in fact committed by South Africans.

Lebeya noted that of the arrests, 82.5% of the crimes were committed by South Africans and the remaining 17.5% by foreign nationals.

The national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, outlines the progress made and takes stock of milestones achieved. Picture: Oupa Mokoena Independent Newspapers

Lebeya commended the work done to secure 229 convictions, especially with regard to fraud and corruption, including the conviction of 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 convicted by the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 335 charges of fraud, grouped into three categories running concurrently, leaving her with 50 years’ imprisonment.

A further eight people were arrested for money laundering and theft of R24m at the South African State Theatre as a result of two employees flouting the supply chain management processes.

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

Meanwhile, 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 additional arrests of three more people, namely Thabo Mothogoane, Rosihah Ngoveni and Thapelo Molatlhegi, in relation to the R150m VBS corruption investigation of the Lepelle-Nkumpi Local Municipality in 2017.

Following the update, the Hawks also received a much-welcome 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