Informer wants Hawks to pay up for helping foil heist
A Hawks informer who says he risked his life to expose an alleged plan to rob a Buffalo City Metro butchery is crying foul, claiming he has not been paid for over a year despite his “brave efforts”.
It is believed that the safe held a treasure of R70m.
Three suspected robbers were arrested just metres away from the butchery, while three others were arrested later and all face trial next month. The 32-year-old informer, a former police reservist, claims that he has been fobbed off and sent “in all directions” since July 2018 when he started demanding his promised pay of R150,000.
He cannot be named to protect his identity as he is highly likely to testify in the trial.
Mr X said he was promised he would be paid in full 48 hours after he submitted an eight-page sworn statement about the alleged planning and execution of the heist on July 12 last year.
He told the Dispatch he had approached the Hawks in early July 2018 with information that a group of would-be-thieves were planning the robbery.
He said he was instrumental in obtaining video and audio-footage of the alleged plotters.
Mr X said he came to know of the heist after being approached by people who wanted him to join them in stealing a police van and uniform.
“The people who approached me knew me as a police reservist and were not aware that I had already resigned.”
Mr X then made claims about how the robbery was to have been conducted, as well as about an arsenal of weapons and explosives.
He claimed he was offered R200,000 to carry out the robbery.
He said: “I approached the Hawks in East London with the information. I was then made to wear a recording device and a hidden camera.”
He claimed he captured on audio and video a damning conversation about the planned heist.
A number of details of the arrest close to the the butchery were presented to court by a Hawks investigator when he testified during the bail hearing of the suspects last August.
Mr X said he was later placed in a witness protection programme “in a place I signed never to reveal”, where he was kept until he decided of his own volition to leave recently.
“I felt neglected and taken for a ride by these guys”.
“I am asthmatic and those people promised to take care of my medication supply while I was in the witness protection programme, promises that were never honoured.
“Most times I had to call my mother, who is a pensioner, to assist me with money to buy food and medication, while they kept throwing me from pillar to post when I contacted them about the money they had promised me.”
He said his two handlers, whose names are known to the Dispatch, “kept on giving me one story after another when I asked about the money.
“Today they would tell me that I would get the money the following day, the next day they would promise to pay by next week, and it has been like that for more than a year now.
“They even visited my family a number of times, promising that they would soon pay me, claiming that they were still waiting for the payment to be signed off by their bosses.
“Now when I call my two handlers, they are not even picking up my calls,” he said.
The informer claimed he had received a number of death threats, was now fearing for his life “every second”, and hardly left his hiding place.
“But now I am sick and tired of being played by the Hawks.”
Hawks national spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi on Friday did not respond to emailed questions.
Instead he said: "Kindly be informed that in line with the Criminal Procedure Act, protection to the informer is provided by extending a privilege of nondisclosure of their identity, as this will inevitably put their lives at risk."
"We are of the view that such a disclosure if made by yourselves, will put our investigative efforts and the case itself in jeopardy seeing that the case hasn’t been finalised at court as yet.
"We are of the view that media platforms act as active citizenry in our fight against crime, particularly the scourge of violent organised crime, our investigations that are still ongoing suggests that there are outstanding suspects in this matter. We would like to believe that you wouldn’t deliberately jeopardise our efforts to ensure that our communities are and feel safe," Mulaudzi said.
Three of the six suspects were initially denied bail by an East London court last August, but successfully applied to the Grahamstown high court for a review.
The three were then granted bail of R2,000 each early this year by the East London magistrate’s court, and a further two co-accused were also granted R2,000 bail by the Grahamstown high court. One of the suspects did not apply for bail and remains in custody. None of the accused can be named as East London magistrate Rochelle Sam in February ordered that their identities and pictures not be published as they are yet to plead.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.