Hawks watchdog want formal complaint to investigate Sars 'hostage drama'

2016-11-02 15:59


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Cape Town - The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation's (DPCI) Office of the Judge could not investigate allegations against the Hawks unless a formal complaint was laid, Parliament heard on Wednesday.

This meant that, even though the case of a South African Revenue Service employee who was held against his will by Hawks officials has been in the spotlight, the Hawks' hands were tied until the victim laid a complaint, retired Judge Essa Moosa told MPs.

He was responding to questions from Parliament's police committee regarding the hostage drama and the powers of his office in dealing with such an occurrence.

African National Congress MP Leonard Ramatlakane said there was a lot of publicity around the "hostage drama".

"What then happens? What does your office do? Would you wait for a report to come from a person that has been offended or what will happen in the case like that?"

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald asked if someone else could lay a complaint on behalf of the victim.

Onus on complainant

READ: The ANC must put SA in safe, capable hands - Mandela foundation

Moosa, who runs the Hawks watchdog, told the MPs they could unfortunately not launch an investigation on their own initiative, as this was outside of the scope of their mandate.

The person who was directly affected had to lay a complaint, he said.

Not only that, but the complainant had to produce evidence of the violation of his or her rights.

"It places the onus on the complainant to provide evidence."

They were a statutory body with limited powers, the judge said.

He made an example of a number of issues that had dominated media reports lately, including the investigation into Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Target failure

If a complaint was laid by Gordhan, they could investigate it, Moosa said.

"But unfortunately such a complaint was not lodged with us."

They did receive a complaint regarding Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza's fitness to hold office, but it was subsequently withdrawn, he said.

"A complaint was lodged by some institution concerning the fitness of Hawks head Berning Ntlemeza to hold his position. When we inquired whether they had authority to lay such a complaint, they withdrew the complaint, so we couldn't investigate further."

The office of the judge was questioned on not meeting its targets after it told the committee it had received 28 complaints and only completed 10.

Their target for dealing with complaints was 70% and they only managed to complete 36%.

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Read more on:    sars  |  hawks  |  judiciary  |  parliament 2016

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