It will take time to resuscitate Hawks, says Shadrack Sibiya
The elite organised crime-fighting unit now lacks the expertise to deal with some cases, warns the former Gauteng Hawks head
It will take a long time for the Hawks to be resuscitated, the former Gauteng head of the elite organised crime-fighting unit, Gen Shadrack Sibiya, said.
Sibiya and his boss, Anwa Dramat, together with top cop Lesley Maluleke, were charged with the illegal rendition of Zimbabwean prisoners, some of whom eventually died.
The National Prosecuting Authority on Monday provisionally withdrew charges against Sibiya and Dramat, following representations made by the two. Maluleke’s charges, however, still remained.
"The Hawks’ crime-fighting machinery was really badly affected to date, and it will take them a very long time to really resuscitate what is going on in the Hawks.
"Even now there are certain cases where there isn’t much expertise to deal with the cases," Sibiya said.
He said he was looking forward to clearing his name since the charges were only provisionally withdrawn. He said their careers were unnecessarily affected by a "bogus" case.
The furore around the renditions also led to the suspension of Robert McBride, head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, after McBride was accused of altering a draft report into the renditions which recommended Dramat and Sibiya be charged. The final report exonerated them.
The allegations against Dramat, his suspension and subsequent resignation following a settlement agreement paved the way for the now discredited former Hawks head Mthandazo Ntlemeza — who was seen as an ally of former president Jacob Zuma — to be appointed in the post despite being found by a court to have lied during Sibiya’s challenge to his suspension.
The Hawks were generally seen as a replacement for the Scorpions, a now disbanded investigative unit.
The Hawks, however, were seen as being politically used during Zuma’s tenure.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a new Hawks head, Godfrey Lebeya, to lead the clean-up of the corruption-busting unit, which has already been implicated in witness testimony during the state capture commission of inquiry.
The state on Monday said it would reconsider Dramat and Sibiya’s positions following the completion of Maluleke’s trial. Dramat declined to comment.