The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI/Hawks) is currently probing at least 22 477 cases with a combined monetary value of about R1.5 trillion.
The sordid details were revealed on Tuesday by National Hawks Head, Lt Gen Godfrey Lebeya, during a media briefing in Pretoria.
Lebeya, who took stock of milestones achieved since his appointment in 2018, highlighted National Priority Offences.
The cases include cash-in-transit robberies; theft of fuel from Transnet pipelines; drug and human trafficking, and corruption. They also include commercial crime, organised crime, cybercrime and money laundering, and inchoate offences such as conspiracy to commit crime and incitement to commit a crime.
With more than 500 000 charges, the cases involve approximately 23 519 suspects.
Of these, Lebeya said 12 360 had already been secured in court, while 11 159 were still pending to be approached.
Of the cases under investigation, 1 998 have reached decision stage, where the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is applying its mind.
Lebeya said when he took over the reins in 2018, he embarked on a process of ‘Assessment, Implementation and Monitoring (AIM)’, in an effort to ascertain organisational and management capabilities.
This entailed engaging the management and personnel in the Directorate in order to redirect the birds. To properly re-engineer the Directorate, most issues were identified within the first 100 days in office.
These included an incoherent organisational structure, stagnation in some investigations, transfer of personnel from DPCI to other divisions within the SAPS [South African Police Service], nepotistic practices in appointments, poor and unfair allocation of human and physical resources, and inadequate implementation of the Police Act, which has adversely impacted not only the functioning of the Directorate but the attrition of skilled personnel.
As a result of this anomaly, Lebeya said a work-study was commissioned, which resulted in the redesigning of a fully developed structure for the Directorate. The structure was approved in 2019.
The structure is now being implemented to enhance skill levels and retain personnel in an effort to build capacity.
In its inception in 2009, the Directorate had a head count of 2 663 personnel. By 2018, the number had shrunk to 2 535.
This number is standing at 2 672. As we speak, we have advertised more than 200 posts. We shall continually advertise vacant and funded posts to address these identified gaps.
In recent times, the Directorate has made several key appointments. These include the appointment of the Deputy National Head, Divisional Commissioner, six Provincial Heads, Component Heads including Financial Accounting Investigation, Priority Crime Specialised Investigations and other senior managers and personnel across the country.
Although there is a slow pace in vetting the designated appointees in Senior Management Service (SMS) for Top Secret Security Clearance Certificate, 85% of SMS posts have been filled.
Should the designate managers successfully negotiate the vetting process and be certified on Top Security Clearance level, we will be able to fill up to 100% before the end of this year. The lower and middle management is still operating at 50% and the fiscus allowing, we intend to fill these posts over the coming two financial years.
Work on hand
Between the 2018/19 and 2021/22 financial years, the DPCI had arrested 12 157 suspects that were brought before the courts of law.
In the same period, Lebeya said 4 447 convictions were secured across the country.
The convictions relate to individuals as the charges/counts are much higher. To cite two examples: in 2019, the conviction of Serious Commercial Crime Investigation Component alone was 37 597 counts.
In Cape Town Central CAS 1279/10/2016, two natural persons and five juristic persons were convicted on 487 counts of fraud and money laundering of Value Added Tax (VAT) to the value of R110 million actual and R440m potential loss. The natural persons were on 21 February 2020 sentenced to 17 years and 16 years imprisonment, respectively.