Scorpions bid 'vexatious'

2009-06-03 20:05

Cape Town - Businessman Hugh Glenister's campaign to stop the demise of the Scorpions borders on vexatious, a full bench of the Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Senior counsel Willie Duminy said Glenister had placed before the court mounds of irrelevant information which the three judges and others had had to read.

"We have had to spend valuable time reading all of this irrelevant information," he said.

Duminy, along with advocate Sipokazi Poswa-Lerotholi, represent the country's president, ministers of police (formerly safety and security) and justice.

They opposed an urgent application by Glenister to stop the transfer of the Directorate for Special Operations (DSO), better known as the Scorpions, to the SA Police Service.

Probes into ANC politicians

The move amounted to the disbandment of the Scorpions in their present form.

In the application, Glenister contended that the closure of the Scorpions was to stop investigations into high-ranking ANC politicians.

Senior Judge Siraj Desai presided in the application, together with judges Burton Fourie and Dumisani Zondi.

Duminy urged the court to dismiss the application with costs.

He said the court had to decide whether in fact the purpose of the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Act, as well as the SAPS Amendment Act, both empowering the disbandment of the Scorpions, was to stop investigations involving ANC MPs.

If the court ruled that this was the reason for the closure of the Scorpions unit, then an interdict to prevent this happening, as requested by Glenister, was justified. If not, the court had to dismiss the application, and refuse the interdict, he said.

Exceeded their mandate

Duminy said the Scorpions' mandate had only been to stop organised crime, but the unit had not limited its operations to organised crime and had thus exceeded its mandate.

From the inception of the Scorpions, there had been a problem with the overlapping mandates of the DSO and the police.

He said Scorpions investigations had been so effective because the unit had not had to report to a political head, as the SAPS had to do.

Duminy added: "This is why so many people said that the Scorpions were a law unto themselves."

He said the transfer of the DSO would not put an end to any Scorpions investigations that were already underway.

As Duminy held sway, the presidential 12-gun salute disturbed the proceedings.

Duminy responded: "That's the State-of-the-Nation salute, m'lords, not an applause for my address to the court, although it deserves it."

Judgment was reserved.
 

- SAPA

Read more on:    scorpions  |  sa police service  |  siraj desai  |  anwar dramat  |  hugh glenister  |  jackie selebi
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