Home / Events / Why closing SA's specialised detective units was a mistake
Why closing SA's specialised detective units was a mistake
Date: 22 October 2015
Time: 10h30 - 12h30
Venue: Conference room, ISS Pretoria, Block C, Brooklyn Court, map

Former national commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), Jackie Selebi, closed down or decentralised most specialised investigative units between 2000 and 2006. He ignored the warning that this could severely undermine the ability of the police to investigate complex crimes.

So, it is not surprising that some of South Africa’s most serious violent crimes have increased since the units were shut down. Between 2005/06 and 2014/15 house robbery went up by 99% and business robbery by 337%.

New research by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) reflects on the different types of specialised units that existed within the SAPS, the reasons for shutting them down and the impact this has had on the police’s ability to tackle various organised and priority crimes. The full results are published in an ISS paper that will be launched at the seminar. Copies will be available for distribution.

Chair: Gareth Newham, Head, Governance, Crime and Justice division, ISS


  • Lieutenant General Mthandazo Ntlemeza, National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation ('Hawks'), SAPS

  • Major General (Ret) Sharon Schütte, former national head of the Serious and Violent Crime Unit, SAPS

  • Dr Johan Burger, Senior Researcher, Governance, Crime and Justice Division, ISS

This event is made possible with funding from The Hans Seidel Foundation. The ISS is also grateful for support from the following members of the ISS Partnership Forum: the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA.
Conference room
ISS Pretoria
Block C
Brooklyn Court
Helen Chanda
Phone: +27 12 346 9500
Johan Burger
Phone: +27 12 346 9500
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