Lawyer: Harder to remove Hawks head

2014-08-19 19:52
(Supplied)

(Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - It is arguably more difficult to remove the head of the Hawks now than was the case with the now-defunct Scorpions, the Constitutional Court heard on Tuesday.

"In practical terms, it is harder to remove the head. He [the police minister] will have an inquiry and results from a judge to contend with," Kemp J Kemp SC, for President Jacob Zuma, told the court.

Kemp was referring to previous legislation pertaining to the Scorpions, which gave Parliament an opportunity to reverse the dismissal.

When it came to the Hawks, the minister could suspend the head of the unit, pending an inquiry to be chaired by a judge. Were the head to be removed, the minister would need to notify Parliament.

"It seems to me that the minister has powers of dismissal, and must simply report to Parliament," Kemp said.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng said earlier the current legislation seemed to make it easier for the minister to remove the Hawks' head without involving Parliament.

"It's an easier process than requiring a two-thirds majority," Mogoeng said.

Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke commented: "I would rest less soundly if the [Hawks] head was in the hands of the minister."

Kemp said Parliament would be able to step in if it was seen that the police minister was protecting the head of the Hawks.

The applicants in the matter, the Helen Suzman Foundation and businessman Hugh Glenister, were seeking leave to appeal against a high court's refusal to declare certain provisions of the SAPS Amendment Act unconstitutional and secure the independence of the Hawks.

The case stems from 2008, when the Scorpions crime-fighting unit, which fell under the jurisdiction of the National Prosecuting Authority, was dissolved and replaced by the Hawks. The Hawks are under the police's jurisdiction.

Earlier, Kemp said the applicants had not compared the legislation that had governed the Scorpions and the Hawks. They were similar, with the only major difference being Parliament's ability to reverse the dismissal of a unit head.

At the time of their existence the Scorpions were seen as an independent body. Kemp said it was necessary that the Hawks and its head required oversight to a degree, to ensure it did not become a law in itself.

Earlier, David Unterhalter, for the Helen Suzman Foundation, said the powers of the police minister to suspend the Hawks head were too broad and open to abuse.

"Grounds of suspension are not specified for," Unterhalter said.

"An exercise of power without proper review is dangerous."

He said a process located within Parliament would guarantee a greater degree of oversight.

The application continues.

Read more on:    saps  |  hawks

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.