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Hawks head Matakata urged to prioritise cases involving govt officials

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JOHANNESBURG – There are calls for acting Hawks head Yolisa Matakata to speed up a number of cases involving senior government officials, which were neglected under her predecessor Berning Ntlemeza.

Matakata’s appointment was announced last week after a High Court decision that Ntlemeza should leave office immediately.

It’s not clear when or if he will report for duty after reportedly saying that only Parliament can remove him from his position.

Among a string of cases that the Democratic Alliance (DA)’s Zakhele Mbhele says the Hawks have not investigated is the illegal rhino trade case that links State Security Minister David Mahlobo to a man implicated in the trade.

He has also highlighted former Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Danny Jordaan, who was accused of irregularities during the 2010 soccer World Cup.

“The base of the investigation has been far from satisfactory. One would have thought that the implication of a Cabinet minister, let alone the one who’s responsible for organised crime, would be prioritised.”

Mbhele says the reason the cases were not prioritised in the past was because Ntlemeza was politically compromised.

“Berning Ntlemeza was politically compromised as the head of the Hawks and that the unit itself was very reluctant to touch cases that involved politically connected individuals.”

The DA says the Hawks should be free of political interference.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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