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'Politicians cannot use Hawks as their own personal security firm'

3 August 2020 9:16 AM
Tags:
Hawks

Public Law expert Cathy Powell says Hawks cannot be used to settle domestic spats and the independence of the body is compromised.

The ANC's integrity commission has recommended that the Deputy Finance Minister step down after finding that he had abused state resources to deal with his personal affairs.

The commission found that Masondo abused his powers by asking the Hawks to investigate and arrest his alleged mistress last year and has brought the party into disrepute.

Refilwe Moloto speaks to UCT's Public Law expert, Cathy Powell about whether we are seeing an abuse of the Hawks investigative unit after two cases involving politicians' and their partners' end up on their radar.

Powell is clear that politicians using the Hawks to arrest individuals that they may be having domestic spats with is an absolute no-no.

The Hawks are South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation which targets organised crime, economic crime, corruption, and other serious crime.

The issue is that members of government or people connected to members of government, feel that they have the right to call in priority crime investigating unit as though they were their personal police force.

Kathy Powell, Public Law expert - UCT

But the fact that the Hawks are allowing themselves to be used in such a way is equally if not more important to highlight, she adds.

It suggests they have no independence, and if they have no independence it suggests crime and corruption, which is meant to be their main task, is not going to be fought unless their political overlords want it to be fought.

Kathy Powell, Public Law expert - UCT

She says the Hawks have a responsibility to ensure they remain independent, and so should not agree to do politicians bidding.

One of the most telling signs for me is that the minister of police is defending them.

Kathy Powell, Public Law expert - UCT

Whereas the Scorpions were situated within the National Prosecuting Authority, the Hawks are part of the police and so are subject to ministerial control, she explains.

The Hawks are therefore not running as an independent crime-fighting body, she says.

RELATED: Lawyers question why Hawks arrested Norma Gigaba for 'domestic squabble'

RELATED: David Masondo's Cabinet job on the line for setting the Hawks on his ex-mistress

She adds the Parliament is not holding the executive to account and it is a threat to democracy.

If politically-connected people can use the Hawks as their personal security firm, then we are in serious trouble and we have got to keep the pressure up.

Kathy Powell, Public Law expert - UCT

Listen to the interview below:


3 August 2020 9:16 AM
Tags:
Hawks

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