PRETORIA, The Hawks, the elite Directorate for Special investigations of the South African Police Service (SAPS), have have expressed shock and dismay at a report of a sex scandal among its ranks.

The Saturday Dispatch under the headline Hawks boss in Sex Scandal named two Eastern Cape Hawks officials and alleges they are embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal after two senior staff members in the elite crime-fighting unit accused him of sexually harassing them.

The Acting National Head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata, said the article not only embarrassed the organization but also attempted to humiliate and damage the integrity of the alleged sexual harassment victims.

Deplorably, the victims' identities were carelessly splashed across the newspaper without their consent; undermining their right to privacy, their personal safety and endeavouring to misdirect the internal investigation which has already commenced, said Matakata on Sunday.

She said violence against women constituted a violation of basic human rights and was an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality and development.

In dealing with the victims of sexual harassment, the media should take ownership of their responsibility while dealing with such sensitive cases. Most victims undergo enormous mental and emotional burden, the insensitivity by the media while reporting their case can damage the state of the victim.

She said the media must maintain a balance and take special care while reporting any case of sexual harassment in the society irrespective whether it is of public interest.

She added that the newspaper needed to be accountable as the freedom of the media, like any other freedom recognized under the Constitution, has to be exercised within sensible boundaries.

Matakata also placed on record that the opinions and views raised in the newspaper article did not represent the principles of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation.

As management we are accountable to our members and we are committed to afford them whatever assistance they require. We are also keen to see to it that the internal investigations continue without any influence of any kind.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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