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Hawks Vigorously Addressing National Priority Offences



national priority offences

In the relentless pursuit of addressing national priority offences, the Directory for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) is actively combating these crimes, according to the National Head for the DPCI, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, who provided a media briefing on Thursday. Per SANews, in the update on the Hawks’ second quarter of the 2023/24 financial year report, Lebeya reported a substantial achievement with 801 arrests nationwide, comprising 791 natural persons and 10 juristic persons, who were apprehended before various courts across the country. Expressing satisfaction with the conviction rate, Lebeya highlighted that 244 accused persons, consisting of 234 natural persons and 10 juristic persons, were convicted and sentenced.

The top five national priority offences contributed significantly to the arrests, with 173 suspects nabbed for fraud, 172 for precious metals and diamonds, 52 for narcotics, 48 for cash-in-transit robberies (CIT), and 37 for corruption. Throughout these operations, the DPCI seized various exhibits, including precious metals and diamonds, endangered species, vehicles, cash, firearms, ammunition, counterfeit goods, explosives, and electronic devices, amounting to R92 407 269.33. Regarding crime categories related to convictions, fraud topped the list with 75 convictions, followed by precious metals and diamonds with 51 accused persons. Under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, 30 accused persons and two companies were convicted for a pattern of racketeering activity and money laundering.

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Concerning nationalities in convictions and sentences, 193 were South Africans, and 84 were foreign nationals, including Zimbabweans, Chinese, Mozambicans, Nigerians, Tanzanians, Basotho, Pakistanis, Ethiopians, Bangladeshis, Zambians, Canadians, and Ghanaians. Addressing the grave issue of attacks on police officials, Lebeya emphasised that an assault on law enforcement is an attack on the State. He revealed that 35 police officials were murdered in the second quarter, leading to 37 arrests, and 10 individuals were sentenced, with five receiving 10 life imprisonments and a combined 391 years imprisonment.

In illegal mining, the DPCI made 172 arrests for precious metals and diamonds, conducting operations to disrupt illicit mining activities. Seized items included rifles, ammunition, unwrought precious metals, food, medicine, and gold refining paraphernalia. The fight against kidnappings saw the arrest of 40 suspects, with 11 victims rescued by a multidisciplinary kidnapping task team. Additionally, 52 suspects were arrested for drug-related offences, including the seizure of clandestine laboratories valued at R11 086 284.00. Cash-in-transit heists remain a persistent challenge, and the DPCI, in collaboration with private organisations, effected 48 arrests in the quarter, securing two convictions. Lebeya concluded by stressing the importance of educating communities to curb drug demand and reinforcing efforts to stop drug supply.


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Picture: X / PetersWonderboy

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