THE Hawks, successors to the Scorpions, made their first arrest in Durban yesterday when they nabbed three men who were about to rob a jewellery shop.
Director Sally de Beer said Hawks members arrived at the scene at about 6.30am.
She said the shop owner was about to open his shop when the police pounced on the suspects in their parked car.
"The investigators, acting on information received, decided to proactively intervene in the planned attack."
The suspects were led by a sangoma, who allegedly used muti to ensure that they could commit their crimes safely, De Beer said.
"After they were arrested the suspects were taken in and will be screened to establish whether they can be linked to other crimes in and around the Durban area."
The directorate for priority crime investigations, dubbed the Hawks, was launched in Gauteng on Monday by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
The new directorate is being headed by Anwa Dramat.
So far 218 former Scorpions investigators have taken posts in the new police unit and 288 of their projects have been transferred to the new body.
Personnel from the police's organised crime and commercial crime units are working as Hawks investigators until the new unit can be permanently staffed by officers who meet the strict vetting process, De Beer said.
She said the bust was not linked to the 288 cases transferred from the Scorpions, but "it does fall under the mandate of the DPCI, aggravated robbery being a violent organised crime".