South Africa has a history of being a victim of organised crime. This challenge has greatly affected the country and has been a significant setback. This has paused as a reason for the establishment of special units that will be focused on making the country better by tackling this problem. Hawks South Africa is one such unit that is aimed at achieving this goal.
Hawks South Africa is a special unit that was established to face the rampant problems of organised crimes and corruption. The unit was established as a replacement for Scorpions. As a citizen, you ought to be informed on the influence that the unit has in the country and your contribution to ensuring that its goals are met. How about unveiling what Hawks does?
Who are the Hawks?
The Hawks, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, is a unit operating under the Minister of Police.
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The birth of Hawks police unit
During the political transition that took place after South Africa had become a state in 1990, the cases of organised crimes were on the rise. This caught the attention of the ruling party, the African National Congress, to develop means of tackling the issue.
At first, the government had entrusted the South African Police Service to help to combat the problem. The service, however, faced a couple of challenges as it was not well equipped for the task. In 1999, the then-president launched the Scorpions, a special group that was delegated the mandate of investigating and prosecuting the crimes.
Ten years into operation, Scorpions group was replaced by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, the Hawks South Africa.
Hawks investigation unit
The department was formed a few weeks after Scorpions was disbanded. The African National Congress made this decision during the 52nd national conference. According to the allegations that the party raised, the operations of such a body would require the government's oversight. It was presumed to be one of the ways of preventing the body from being used as a political tool.
Unlike Scorpions which was an independent task force, Hawks is a department operating under the Minister of Police.
What is the role of Hawks?
The department was formed with the aim of investigating top economic crimes, corruption cases and any other high organised crimes.
During the formation of the Hawks, there were concerns regarding how effective the department would be in tackling matters regarding corruption. It was alleged that the department would protect the interests of the ANC. It was also claimed that the body would protect the members of the party from being prosecuted.
The Office of the Judge oversees the operations of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation. It does so by:
- Investigating the complains raised by HAWKS regarding any forms of interference in their investigations;
- Investigating any forms of complaints raised by the public regarding the infringement of their rights during the process of investigations by the Hawks department.
Shortcomings in the Office of the Judge
The Office of the Judge, however, faces a lot of criticism because it lacks the mandate to start any forms of investigations. The other shortcoming is the fear that the appointment of the judge could be politically influenced, which pauses as a threat to the operations of the department.
Hawks contact details
The department has its headquarters in Silverstone, Pretoria. In case you experience any of the issues that the department deals with, and would like to seek the assistance of the department, you can do so by reaching them using any of the following contact details:
- Telephone number: 012 846 4590
- Fax: 086 546 1400
- Email: CorruptionReports@saps.gov.za
- Physical address:
DPCI: Anti-Corruption Desk
A5 Promat Building
1 Cresswell Road
The aforementioned details elaborate on the role of the Hawks unit in the country. The details also dictate the jurisdiction of the department, and the role of the citizens in case the operations of the department affect them.
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