Hawks not responsible for 'coup plotter' charges, says acting head

2017-05-04 14:49
Newly appointed Hawks boss Major General Yolisa Matakata (Mpho Raborife, News24)

Newly appointed Hawks boss Major General Yolisa Matakata (Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Cape Town - MPs were left unimpressed after new acting Hawks head Yolisa Matakata claimed the National Prosecuting Authority, and not the Hawks, is handling the charges against the so-called "coup plotter".

Matakata made her first appearance, in her new role, in Parliament's police portfolio committee on Thursday to account for the next budget proposals of the Hawks.

MPs across the board pressed Matakata on why conspiracy accused Elvis Ramosebudi's charges were reduced from conspiracy to commit murder to incitement to commit murder by the NPA.

The NPA on Tuesday said there was no evidence that he was plotting a coup.

Matakata told MPs that the Hawks did not handle charges, but investigations.

The NPA guided the prosecution process and, on occasion, aided police with deciding on the charges, she said.

Democratic Alliance MP Zak Mbhele said he didn't buy her story, and said the NPA decided on the validity of a charge, based on the charges already in a police docket.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Phillip Mhlongo questioned why the Hawks were even investigating someone who was "clearly not right upstairs", and whether the alleged threat on the Gupta family had anything to do with the urgency.

African National Congress MP Leonard Ramatlakane also questioned the procedure, while Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald said a credible criminal wouldn't write letters asking for money to carry out assassinations.

Psychiatric evaluation

Matakata did not confirm if any of the three letters in their possession were addressed to a Gupta-owned company, but did say it was written to one company.

She stood firm and said the NPA, not the Hawks, handled charges.

Acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane chipped in and said the matter was currently before the court, and they will "wait and see".

Ramosebudi was also due to undergo psychiatric evaluation to see "if the screws are loose or tight", he said.

He also said that, thus far, there was no link between Ramosebudi's "plot" and ANC presidential front runner Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's safety.

The police have learnt the lesson not to conduct an "investigation through the media" in future, he added.

In other matters, Phahlane said, under correction, that former Hawks head General Berning Ntlemeza had handed over a phone, iPad, vehicle and laptop before vacating office.

They had not conducted an audit into whether any information was cleared from Phahlane's electronics before handing them back, as there were protocols to follow first.

Groenewald, who had asked the question, seemed unhappy with the answer.

Matakata also told MPs that she was aware of public perception that the Hawks had previously been used as a political tool.

She said the only way they can correct the perception is by going back to basics and carrying out its mandate as an elite investigations unit.

Read more on:    da  |  ff plus  |  npa  |  anc  |  eff  |  hawks  |  yolisa matakata  |  cape town  |  crime

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