Fear of victimisation stops Hawks members reporting on colleagues, MPs told

2015-11-27 16:21


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Cape Town – Fear of victimisation was keeping Hawks cops from reporting each other to their superiors.

This was how the directorate for priority crime investigation complaints unit explained the low number of investigations done in the past financial year.

Briefing Parliament’s police committee on the complaint unit's annual report, retired Judge Essa Moosa said members were wary of reporting their colleagues, because there was no guarantee against victimisation.

This after MPs questioned the low number of cases investigated by the unit - 14 between April 2014 and March 2015. They also had three cases rolled over from the previous year.

The unit deals with complaints from members of the public against the Hawks and investigates complaints from Hawks members against colleagues.

Moosa told the committee during the course of interaction with Hawks members, they wanted assurances of protection against victimisation should they report a senior.

"Unfortunately, we can’t give any sort of guarantees. We made that clear."

He said another challenge was that complainants had to provide evidence along with their grievance.

"That sets the bar quite high. I think that is one of the things Parliament might have to look at to see how they can improve the powers of the office."

Moosa said other complaints under their jurisdiction might be going to other similar units.

R3m budget surplus

ANC MP Leonard Ramatlakane suggested giving Hawks members who wanted to complain the same protection given to whistle-blowers.

"Shouldn’t there be a reassurance, given the whole state attitude about protecting whistle-blowers? What’s applicable in other departments regarding whistle-blowing should be applicable here. There should be some form of protection."

MPs also questioned the amount of public awareness programmes conducted by the office, in order to get the public interested in their work.

Of the 14 complaints received, 13 came from the public and one from a Hawks member.

Investigator Edward Rasiwela said the one Hawks complaint was completed and the report handed to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko.

The unit also reported a R3m budget surplus as they had only used R1.38m of their R5.2m allocation.

The reason cited was the lack of permanent offices in Cape Town and Pretoria during that time.

Moosa assured MPs they were now fully operational and would be able to improve their performance regarding investigations of complaints.

Read more on:    hawks  |  cape town  |  parliament 2015

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