AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
Hawks flight success story of multiple arrests for police killings, 280 convictions for serious crimes
A total of 13 suspects were arrested by the Hawks for the murder of police officials with six being convicted and sentenced. One of the six murdered officials was tortured, beaten up and doused with boiling water. Police killings were one of the main issues that Hawk’s national head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya highlighted while giving an update on the agency’s successes.
Lebeya briefed the media on Thursday, 15 June in Pretoria on the agency’s successes during the fourth quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year.
According to his report, the Hawks arrested 701 suspects who appeared in courts across the country. During the same period – 1 January 2023 to 31 March 2023 – a total of 284 accused were convicted and sentenced.
The Hawks are the South African Police Services’ Directorate for Crime Investigation whose primary function is combatting, investigating and preventing national priority crimes such as serious organised crime, commercial crime and corruption.
The Hawks also arrested 38 suspects for cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies while four were convicted and sentenced during this quarter. Over and above, 30 suspects were arrested for CIT-related offences.
A total of 13 suspects were arrested by the DPCI for the murder of police officials while six were convicted and sentenced.
The Hawks also prioritise crimes relating to the Covid-19 relief fund. At the end of March 2023, a total 194 suspects were arrested. Of these, 49 out of 52 accused were convicted, which represents a 94% conviction rate. At the media briefing, Lebeya only highlighted 32 cases (of the 701 cases nationwide).
The police killings and convictions detailed:
- Detective Sergeant Sakhile Nsibande was shot on November 14, 2019 in KwaZulu-Natal and died as a result of his injuries. At the time of his death, authorities were looking for Phumowakhe Ndwandwe (24), who was wanted for house robbery and rape. Police had identified and surrounded his home. Ndwandwe fired rounds through the window before fleeing.
- The body of former Major-General Thekiso Mogoerane was discovered on the back seat of his Hyundai Accent, which had been abandoned in Birchleigh, Kempton Park, on January 17, 2018. Nine suspects were apprehended, including the deceased’s wife, Lieutenant Colonel Cordelia Mogoerane at the time. Following a lengthy trial for conspiracy to commit murder and murder, the deceased’s wife was sentenced to life imprisonment on 10 February 2023 by the Gauteng Local Division of the high court.
- Kwe Dali (54), an off-duty traffic officer from Gauteng Community Safety, went to a tavern in Boksburg on the evening of October 10, 2021. Two individuals confronted him in his vehicle in the parking lot. They asked that he hand over valuables. They searched him and discovered a state firearm licence, which they stole. The officer was tortured, assaulted, and drenched in boiling water. He died as a result of his injuries.
- Sergeant Koos Mokoena of Crime Intelligence Free State and Sergeant Andile Ranyane were killed at Phuthaditjaba on August 2, 2019. Between August 8 and 9, 2019, five individuals were apprehended. The Harrismith Regional Court condemned the five accused on February 24, 2023. Four of the five were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and the fifth was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- On March 6, 2020, a cash-in-transit robbery occurred in Mahikeng, killing Detective Warrant Officers Delene Grobler-Koonin (44) and Wynand Herbst (42) of the DPCI Tactical Operations Section. Suspects arrested include Solomon Ngubeni (47), Jabulani Moses Yika (41), Musa Mkhavela (33), Terefe Demmissie (39), Edgar Marule (47), Simphiwe Msibi (24), Jabulane Sibisi (53), Omphile Maswabi (33) and Thuso Tshepo Lobelo (31). Yika was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the North West high court sitting in Mmabatho on February 17, 2023. The case against the other suspects was remanded for trial on June 12-15, 2023.
The Hawks’ successes also focussed on the arrest of suspects in connection with fraud and theft, sabotage and cartels plunging the country into darkness.
One of the successes, Lebeya emphasised, was the conviction of businessman Michael Chimanzi for R2.6-million in Eskom fraud. Eskom employees Nwabisa Ngxola and Cinderella Moropane are accused of conspiring with Chimanzi (56), the sole Director of Chimanzi Investments, to submit fraudulent bills to Eskom for services that were never provided.
On 1 March 2023 Chimanzi was sentenced to eight years in prison, wholly suspended for five years. For her part, Ngxola was sentenced to 17 years in jail. The case of Moropane, Lebeya added, has been postponed to 29 June 2023 for sentencing.
Ongoing court proceedings include Eskom Tutuka Power Station in Mpumalanga, which issued an order to Umnandi Conference and Catering in 2021 for the purchase and delivery of two containers. The company reportedly conspired with Eskom employee Zandile Rosemary Ngcobo (43) and charged Eskom R939,550.00 without procuring or delivering the containers. Payment was completed
Three further Eskom officials, Jessica Khubekha (61), Solomon Twala (59), and Nomsa Sibiya (49) were arrested by Standerton Detectives before the case was transferred to the Hawks for further investigation.
Further investigation resulted in Annemarie Stander (55) being arrested by the Middelburg Hawks on counts of fraud, theft and money laundering on 15 February 2023. The case against all five accused is postponed to 21 August 2023 at Middleburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for pre-trial conference.
Municipal fraud is another crime that Hawks investigated thoroughly. Geo Paul (61), the acting head of the Department of Finance in the North West, has been detained in connection with an R15-million tender scam. The alleged scam occurred between July and August of 2011.
“He allegedly further disregarded a cheaper quotation and failed to take appropriate steps to prevent the unauthorised, irregular and wasteful expenditure to the tune of R15,459,380.18,” according to Lebeya.
Paul was arrested on 28 March 2023, and appeared before the Mmabatho Magistrate’s Court on two counts of contravention of the PFMA. The matter is postponed to 21 August 2023. DM