Judge Nare Frans Kgomo‚ who retired as Northern Cape Judge President in September this year‚ has been appointed to oversee the Hawks.
The announcement was made on Friday by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Kgomo replaces Essa Moosa‚ who died in February.
Kgomo has interacted directly and indirectly with police‚ having served as an interpreter in Brits‚ a district as well as regional magistrate‚ and an advocate in private practice‚ over the course of more than 19 years.
The Office of the Judge Complaints Unit for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) was established as an independent unit within the South African Police Service in terms of the Police Act of 1995.
Its key responsibility is to provide oversight of the Hawks. It says on its website that it is also responsible for investigation of complaints from and against members of the Hawks.
Kgomo previously sat on the South Gauteng Bench‚ where he showed little patience for police officers who had transgressed‚ according to the civil society forum website Judgesmatter.co.za.
In awarding damages of R480‚000 to a plaintiff who had alleged he was wrongfully and unlawfully arrested and defamed in the presence of his family‚ despite showing proof that he was not the person being sought in connection with fraud-related charges‚ Kgomo wrote: “Unlawful arrest and misuse of powers by members of the [SAPS] is frowned upon and its escalation should be curbed as by yesterday‚ i.e. ‘pronto’.”
Mbalula said he had every confidence that Kgomo could continue on in the work of the DPCI Judge’s office in ensuring that the Hawks function efficiently and in compliance with the law.
“We want to go on with Judge Moosa’s job appropriately and ensure that we are fit and proper in all that we do. There have to be checks and balances in what we do. I have received complaints regarding the Hawks and can now refer them to his office‚” said Mbalula.
Judge Kgomo said he was confident that his background in law‚ court proceedings and prosecutions would hold him in good stead in his new position.
“I have some form of adjudicative experience when it comes to complaints. I represented the judge president on the JSC for a number of years. The chief justice appointed me to the judicial complaints committee‚” he said.
He said he would not shy away from investigating politically powerful individuals.
“I don’t want to go ahead of myself because I must work with a team. Let me say that when it comes to performing my job‚ I have no trepidation. I have dealt with cases involving dangerous criminals and never stood back. The former president of Botswana was prosecuted by me and I never stood back‚” said Kgomo.
Mbalula also defended his recent remarks to police officers‚ telling tactical response team officers to “squeeze the balls” of criminals.
He said his use of idioms was deliberately being misinterpreted and that he was referring to “squeezing the air out of balls” so that “not everyone can play with them”.
He stressed that he was working extensively with communities affected by crime‚ including Marikana settlement in Philippi Cape Town and said such communicates had to provide the authorities with the information needed to arrest criminals. – TimesLIVE/BusinessLIVE