PRETORIA – The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) has taken note of the perceptions presented to the public by the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane on 28 January 2020.

The media statement suggests that the DPCI is prioritising a perjury against the Public Protector, which is not a “priority crime” but a trivial matter; that the Public Protector refers serious matters to the DPCI but such matters are not receiving attention; and that Public Protector refuses to provide the DPCI with a warning statement regarding perjury as she enjoys immunity under section 5(3) of the Public Protector Act.

The DPCI understand its mandate and focus on national priority offences as defined in Section 17A of the South African Police Service 68 of 1995. Unfortunately, the Public Protector has not indicated the law that informs her interpretation of what is labelled “priority crime” as the Act does not use such terminology,

All the matters that have been referred to the DPCI by her office are receiving attention. We have not received a concern from the Public Protector that suggest otherwise.

The DPCI was also not aware that the Public Protector has exercised her Constitutional right to remain silent, after asking the National Head to personally request her statement. The DPCI has been waiting for her exculpatory statement as expressly requested so that the matter can be tabled before the National Prosecuting Authority for decision.

Now that her refusal has been made known via the media, the DPCI shall no longer expect the application of the audi alteram partem rule but will now process the docket to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision, without her statement.

The DPCI is committed to operate within the parameters of the law. In case the Public Protector is of the view that we are abusing our powers and prejudice her, she has the right to report to the Retired Judge in terms of Section 17L(4)(a) of the Police Act without courting unnecessary publicity.

The Hawks will continue to undertake their investigative functions without fear or favour. There is no amount of unwarranted statements that will prevent the DPCI from independently executing its functions.