Scorpions action renewed

2009-04-28 15:25

Cape Town - Businessman Hugh Glenister has renewed his court challenge to the legislation disbanding the Scorpions.

A full bench of the Cape High Court will sit on June 2 to hear his application as an urgent matter.

It was set down to be argued on Tuesday, but the state said it needed more time to respond.

Acting judge president Jeanette Traverso, sitting in chambers, set the June date for the hearing by consent, and said she would allocate three judges.

The respondents include the president of the republic, the ministers of justice and of safety and security, and the head of the National Prosecuting Authority.

ConCourt ruled against

Last year Glenister lost a bid to have the two bills scrapping the Scorpions declared constitutionally invalid before they were made law.

The Constitutional Court said then that it was premature to challenge the bills before they had been dealt with by Parliament and the executive, and for that reason it was not prepared to consider the merits of his arguments.

In November Glenister wrote to President Kgalema Motlanthe urging him to submit the legislation for scrutiny by the Constitutional Court before he signed it into law.

Motlanthe rejected the request, and signed the bills in January.

It is expected the unit will be formally disbanded in mid-year.

Glenister's attorney Kevin Louis said on Tuesday that the basis of Glenister's new application was essentially the same as the one he brought last year.

New grounds added

However new grounds had been added, among them that the public participation process around the bills had been defective.

There was also new material on labour law issues, and a contention that scrapping the unit violated a United Nations convention on fighting corruption, that South Africa was signatory to.

As part of the application, Glenister is asking for an order restraining the government from implementing the laws before any order of invalidity issued by the Cape judges, is examined by the Constitutional Court.

The Scorpions were responsible for criminal investigations against Jacob Zuma and his financial adviser Schabir Shaik, as well as against national police chief Jackie Selebi.

- SAPA

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