Shabangu condems Hawks raid

[] — MINING Minister Susan Shabangu on Wednesday described the raid on her department and the State Law Advisers’ offices by the Hawks last month as “highly irregular”.

Responding to questions in the National Assembly, she also questioned the relationship between the Hawks, officially the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, and mining company Kumba Iron Ore.

The Hawks’ raid in July followed criminal charges lodged by Kumba. The charges were laid against the department and Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) in a dispute around the controversial awarding of a prospecting right over a 21.4% stake in the Sishen iron ore mine to ICT.

The matter is now before the courts.

“I just need to indicate their action was highly irregular and unacceptable,” Shabangu said, responding to a question from Cope MP Philip Dexter.

“They did not only raid our offices as the State, they also raided the State Law Advisers. What does it mean to you as a member of Parliament … that’s why we’re saying it’s irregular.”

Responding to a separate question on whether the raid suggested “possible collusion” between the Hawks and litigants in the court case, she said it was “quite clear” the Hawks had gone beyond their jurisdiction.

“And we are just surprised about some of the issues… they make us wonder about the relationship between Kumba and the Hawks, as the law enforcement agency,” Shabangu said.