Safety and security authorities in Mpumalanga hope that the newly appointment provincial head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Simon Mapyane, can crack the whip on crime in the province, including the unsolved political murder cases.
Mabutho Sithole, spokesperson for premier David Mabuza, said the Hawks were expected to tackle all the unsolved political murder cases, such as that of Saul Shabangu, Hebron Maisela, Sydney De Lange, Thandi Mtsweni, Jimmy Mohlala and Sammy Mpatlanyane.
The province’s organised crime unit has been unable to make any headway with these cases, despite offering rewards for information leading to the killers’ arrest.
“The Hawks are expected to take the lead in the matter by investigating and subsequently apprehending the people behind these senseless killings,” said Sithole.
He said the same must apply to “the war against corruption”.
Mapyane’s appointment to head the unit, better known as the Hawks, in Mpumalanga was announced by Police National Commissioner Bheki Cele last week.
“No stone will be left unturned even if a member [of the police] is involved [in crime],” said Joseph Mabuza, spokesperson in the office of safety, security and liaison MEC Sibongile Manana.
Mabuza was responding to questions sent by African Eye News Service regarding Mapyane’s expected role in the province, which has become notorious for cash and drugs worth millions disappearing from police evidence rooms.
In August last year, confiscated drugs worth R3.7-million disappeared from a police station storeroom in Nelspruit.
At the time, Manana publically condemned corrupt police behaviour and instructed former acting police provincial commissioner Rex Machabi to disband the organised crime unit in the city.
In November last year, R559 000 also disappeared from the unit’s Middelburg branch.
“It is expected of the Hawks to ensure that thorough investigations are done to crack those cases as the government views crime and corruption very seriously, regardless of the person involved,” said Mabuza.
He said the Hawks would focus on investigating corruption and serious crimes, including drug trafficking and organised crime, as well as the unsolved murders dating back to the early ‘90s, which have been linked to political feuds.
Provincial police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Sibongile Nkosi could not confirm when Mapyane would report for duty in Mpumalanga.
“We can confirm that a provincial head of the Hawks has been appointed but we are not sure when he will resume duty. That information will be released in due time,” said Nkosi.