Scorpions bills rushed

2008-10-16 00:00

Cape Town — The Democratic Alliance have called on Parliament’s Justice and Safety and Security committees to shelve two controversial bills that seek to disband the Scorpions, saying that the process of finalising the bills has been too rushed.

The draft SA Police Service and National Prosecuting Authority Amendment bills allow for the Scorpions to be incorporated into the SAPS, a move opposed by many oppostion parties and civil society groupings.

Yesterday, Parliament’s programming committee agreed to suspend “the three-day rule” for the Scorpions legislation, which requires that three days must pass between the day a bill is passed by the committee and when it is debated in the National Assembly. The committee said it waived the rule because the bills are urgent.

The DA’s objection was overruled by the ANC majority.

DA Justice spokesman Tertius Delport said: “This means that the two bills that seek to disband the Scorpions — a matter which is deemed urgent purely for political reasons — will be debated in the National Assembly next Wednesday and it is the job of the portfolio committees to pass a version of the bills before then.” He said there is no final version of the SAPS Amendement Bill and the committee chairmen announced that committee oting will take place on Tuesday.

Another person seeking a delay in the legislation is businessman Hugh Glenister, the man trying to stop the government from disbanding the Scorpions, who, in August, lodged an urgent application to interdict MPs involved in Travelgate and other alleged fraud cases from voting on the two bills.

Glenister’s attorneys wrote to speaker Baleka Mbete on August 14 calling for all MPs under investigation by the Scorpions to recuse themselves from deliberations on the two bills.

Parliament responded by saying there is no reason for their recusal. A week later, the lawyers again demanded a recusal and have prepared a court application on the issue.

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