The Hawks are set to oppose Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane’s application, which seeks to have the unit halt its investigation into him.
Mabuyane recently approached the Bhisho High Court to interdict the Hawks’ investigation into him, calling the probe “unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid”.
The matter is related to Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s report into alleged corruption related to late struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s 2018 memorial service.
In his papers, Mabuyane has asked the high court for an order setting aside the decision to launch an investigation into the allegations against him.
The premier claims the Hawks are being used by his rivals within the ANC to conduct a political witch-hunt against him, which is allegedly influenced by the party’s suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule.
In his affidavit, Mabuyane questioned why the Hawks “resuscitated” the investigation after “Magashule made it a political campaign issue”, further arguing that the unit should explain why it did not investigate the matter when it came into the public’s eye in 2019.
He questioned why the Hawks’ Free State branch were investigating him, instead of the Eastern Cape unit.
He also wants the Hawks to hand over to him all the evidence they have in their possession.
Speaking to Newzroom Afrika‘s Xoli Mngambi on Thursday morning, Hawks head Godfrey Lebeya said the unit had already completed its investigation into Mabuyane and has referred the case to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“The Hawks can confirm that we initiated our investigation in May 2019 and by March 2021, the work that we were doing was complete.
“It was [then] a matter of engaging the National Prosecuting Authority to determine as to whether all that needed to be done has been done and make a decision on this aspect. I think during this process is what may have triggered the applications that have now landed in court,” he said.
Lebeya also dismissed claims that their investigation into Mabuyane was “resuscitated”, saying the probe was “never closed at any given stage”.
Asked about where the case was first opened, the Hawks head said the matter was initially registered in the Eastern Cape as an inquiry and then registered as a docket at Park Road Police Station in the Free State at a later stage.
“That decision comes from head office as to who should conduct the investigation based on certain reasons that shall have been advanced” Lebeya said.
Lebeya also said there should be no suspicion as to why Hawks members based at a particular location can investigate matters elsewhere, citing the Durban Solid Waste case as an example.
Mkhwebane’s report concluded that Mabuyane and public works MEC Babalo Madikizela, including the provincial ANC, benefited from a R1.1 million tender set aside to transport mourners to Mbizana in 2018 to a memorial service for Madikizela-Mandela.
The public protector found that Mabuyane, who was the MEC for economic development in 2018, personally benefited to the tune of R450,000, and the money was apparently used to fund renovations at his home.
A private company owned by Madikizela’s wife received R350,000 through the Mbizana Local Municipality, while the ANC in the province received the rest of the funds through its FNB fundraising account.
While there have been mounting calls from opposition parties for Mabuyane to step down, the premier as well as Madikizela have signalled their intention to challenge the public protector’s report.
Mkhwebane investigated the matter following a complaint from Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality resident, Xolile Mashukuca, according to News24.