NEWS

Hawks Burglary 'Targeted Info About Irregular Appointments'

Insiders suspect the break-in at the Hawks' headquarters was an inside job.

06/07/2017 06:56 SAST | Updated 06/07/2017 06:56 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
Riot police officers patrol the campus ahead of student protest demanding free education at the Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, October 11,2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The burglary at the Hawks' national head office in Pretoria has raised suspicions amongst the country's chief investigators, as the information stolen appears to pertain to the irregular appointment of people within the crime-fighting unit. In particular, these appointments allegedly took place under the Hawks' former head, Berning Ntlemeza, and were recently placed under investigation.

This is according to The Times, which reported on Thursday that the appointments included senior and administrative positions, and are thought to have been conducted by Ntlemeza. Ntlemeza is fighting his dismissal from the Hawks in court.

A Hawks source told The Times that computers were stolen from the offices of employees who deal specifically with human resources and logistics.

"It wasn't only the computers taken. It was also the hard drives. There is information there that is highly sensitive about the appointments of certain people," the source said.

The source said that the appointments were questionable, as those appointed had often not scored the highest on the employment tests.

"They were well below on the rankings, yet somehow they landed up as colonels and above... they deal with sensitive information. Just because they are an admin clerk does not mean that their appointments must not be above board..."

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told The Times that an internal investigation into those appointments was underway.

He said the stolen information was highly confidential, and dealt with people's employment recors.

"To get to those specific offices requires access cards. You don't just open the door and walk in," he reportedly said.

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), acting Hawks boss Yolisa Matakata is set to be called before Parliament's police portfolio committee to explain the break-in.

Committee chairperson Francois Beukman reportedly said the committee wanted answers about how the breach occurred. A special team has reportedly been established to investigate the incident.