In its response, the Hawks said it was not aware that the public protector had exercised her constitutional right to remain silent, after she had asked the national head of the Hawks to personally request her statement.
“The (Hawks) has been waiting for her exculpatory statement as expressly requested, so that the matter can be tabled before the National Prosecuting Authority for decision.
“Now that her refusal has been made known via the media, the (Hawks) shall no longer expect the application of the audi alteram partem (listen to the other side) rule but will now process the docket to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision, without her statement,” Hawks spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi said.
Mulaudzi said Mkhwebane had not indicated that the law that informed her interpretation of what was labelled “priority crime”, as the SA Police Service Act did not use such terminology.
Mulaudzi also said that all the matters that had been referred to the Hawks by Mkhwebane's office were receiving attention.
“We have not received a concern from the public protector that suggests otherwise.”
He said the Hawks were committed to operating within the parameters of the law.
Mulaudzi said if the public protector was of the view that the police unit was abusing its powers and prejudiced her, she had the right to report to the retired judge who investigates complaints against the Hawks in terms of the SA Police Service Act, “without courting unnecessary publicity”.