Hawks deny convicted cop was due to start new job as head of serious organised crime unit

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) has denied that convicted cop Colonel Nkosinathi Nomvalo was due to start his new job as the commander of the serious organised crime unit in Durban on Monday.

Media reports over the weekend suggested that Nomvalo was expected to start his new job at the Hawks' head office in Durban.

"To put the record straight, the national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, has directed a thorough investigation into the matter as far back as 26 June, 2018," said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi in a statement on Monday evening.

The reports suggested that Nomvalo was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for five years, or a R10 000 fine, by the Amanzimtoti Magistrate's Court after losing his firearm while on duty in 2015. He was sentenced in July last year and he opted to pay the fine.

According to the Sunday Tribune, Nomvalo and his colleague Kholisile Zangwa had told the court that their firearms were stolen from a vehicle in the parking lot of the Galleria Mall.

The matter was then investigated by the Hawks and investigators obtained CCTV footage of the parking lot where the alleged theft took place.

27 SAPS members have criminal records

The footage revealed that no one had gained access to their vehicle, which cast doubt on their version of events. They were both found guilty, according to the Sunday Tribune.

"For the record, the officer was appointed in 2015 and the post was withheld pending the outcome of his criminal record. Eventually the officer was found guilty by a court of law. Unfortunately, no departmental action was taken against the member," Mulaudzi said.

He said Lebeya had already appointed someone to act as the commander of the unit.

"He has already appointed a colonel in July this year to act in the position concerned. As indicated, internal disciplinary processes are underway against those who failed to deal with the officer's alleged misconduct," said Mulaudzi.

He reiterated that only Lebeya would make a final decision regarding the outcome of the inquiry.

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said in May this year that Police Minister Bheki Cele's reply to a question from the party had revealed that 27 officers working in the South African Police Service's (SAPS) Crime Intelligence division had criminal records.

READ: 27 Crime Intelligence officers have criminal records and some are serious

Twenty of them had committed traffic-related offences while the other seven committed serious offences, according to Barnard.

"Police Minister Bheki Cele inherited this problem, but he cannot allow criminals to remain in the SAPS and must account for those found guilty of crimes immediately.

"Criminals cannot be responsible for keeping our country safe. Allowing members with such serious convictions to remain in service is unacceptable and points to a serious failure of leadership, which is compromising the fight against crime," she had said.