The race for the Hawks' top job

Yolisa Matakata
Yolisa Matakata

The race is on to fill the permanent post of head of the Hawks.

The job was originally advertised in January, and a shortlist of 35 applicants was drawn up. Today the position is being readvertised because the old advertisement was not worded correctly.

Nonkululeko Phokane, spokesperson for Police Minister Bheki Cele, said: “Some of the clauses were found to be unconstitutional, like there was a clause that if you resigned from the Hawks you cannot apply. That is why there is a new advert that will come out tomorrow [today] to address some of the problems identified.”

After the position was first advertised, some top law-enforcement names applied for the job and they will now have to reapply.

Among 35 names featured on a short list which City Press obtained are:

• Major General Yolisa Matakata, the acting head of the Hawks;

• Robert McBride, the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate;

• Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili, the police’s divisional commissioner in charge of detectives and the former head of the police’s family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit;

• Shadrack Sibiya, the former head of the Hawks in Gauteng and the internal investigations head of the City of Johannesburg;

• Clifford Marion, the head of investigations of the Moerane Commission into political killings in KwaZulu-Natal;

• Eastern Cape provincial police commissioner Major-General Liziwe Ntshinga;

• Hawks KwaZulu-Natal head Major General Jabulani Zikhali;

• Hawks Northern Cape head Major General Kholekile Galawe;

• Senior state advocate Mooketsi Molaudi; and

• Advocate Seswantsho Godfrey Lebeya, a former head of detective services and deputy national commissioner of police.

Sources close to McBride, Matakata and Sibiya confirmed they applied for the job. Two senior sources in the police ministry confirmed to City Press that the short list was authentic.

But the list also features other applicants who may have been trying their luck. These include a man who has a matric, who called himself a “fixer” working at a scaffolding company. Another, also armed with a matric certificate, stated that he was a “full-time driver” for a coffee shop and bakery.

The 12-page candidate list mostly includes senior police officers, prosecutors and other individuals from the legal fraternity.

Besides the bakery driver and scaffolding fixer, another who didn’t make the short list on the list City Press obtained is Brigadier Nyameka Xaba, the controversial head of the Hawks’ crimes against the state unit, which pursued now Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and his former SA Revenue Service colleagues Ivan Pillay and Johann van Loggerenberg in the case suspended SA Revenue Service commisioner Tom Moyane laid against them.

Another name booted off the short list was that of North West deputy provincial detective head Jan Mabula, the man who arrested Gerrie Nel on trumped-up charges, leading the police’s counter investigation into McBride, and who arrested former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head and Cele’s adviser Johan Booysen.

This week Cele told Parliament’s portfolio committee on police that a new head of the Hawks would be appointed by June. Cele said candidates considered for the post were shortlisted on Wednesday, but he complained that there were problems with the advertisement, but did not specify what these were.

“The ad put us a little bit on the back foot,” Cele told Parliament.

Cele said the intention was to have the new Hawks’ head announced at the beginning of May, but this had now been delayed.

The unit has been without a permanent head since its former boss Mthandazo Ntlemeza’s appointment was set aside by the North Gauteng High Court in March last year. The court ruled that his appointment was unlawful and invalid.

Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation successfully applied to have Ntlemeza’s appointment declared irrational and unlawful, and set aside contending that he was not a fit and proper person for the job.

The unit has faced several allegations that they were doing politicians’ bidding, being used to punish and harass opponents of former president Jacob Zuma, and that they were protecting his allegedly corrupt allies, including the Gupta family.

The Hawks’ handling of the state capture investigation has also added to mounting public distrust in the unit.

But Matakata has insisted there has been no political influence in her unit’s state capture investigations, blaming the National Prosecuting Authority for the delay in charging the former president’s friends and their lieutenants.

Which candidate do you think would be the best head of the Hawks?

SMS us on 35697 using the keyword HAWKS and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

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