Hawk-eye for sting in the tail
THE HAWKS - the new police unit replacing the Scorpions - will not discriminate against investigators, including those who investigated Jacob Zuma before he became president.
"The people involved in the investigation into President Zuma won't be disqualified for selection to the unit," said the head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation's Anwa Dramat yesterday during the formal launch of the new unit at Gallagher Estate in Midrand.
Dramat said he was happy that though the process was voluntary, the majority of the investigators had decided to join the new unit.
He also said the transferring of cases previously investigated by the Directorate for Special Operations (Scorpions) to the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) would not affect the cases.
"The police and the rest of government cannot fight crime on its own. A social compact involving the active participation of all members of society is required."
Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa said the Hawks came into being to "keep up with reality".
"It therefore follows that, to be effective, our crime-fighting strategies must reflect our deepening knowledge and keep pace with the ever-changing reality," Mthethwa said.
He said the main task of the directorate was to prevent, combat and investigate national priority offences - or any crime referred to it by the national commissioner.
"The directorate will in particular focus on serious organised crime, commercial crime and corruption. It takes our fight against organised crime to a higher level," said Mthethwa.
He said they chose the title "Hawks" because of the bird's ability to have an eye for detail and also to see from far.
He said there were 288 projects that were currently being investigated by the Scorpions.
Mthethwa said 1700 people had already undergone vetting and screening processes.
Deputy police minister Fikile Mbalula said the new investigative unit would also fight ATM bombings and cash-in-transit heists.
"I trust that the DPCI will be a sharp instrument in combating all priority crimes that are plaguing our country," he said.