Hawks bill in Zuma's hands

2012-08-28 21:39
President Jacob Zuma (File, Sapa)

President Jacob Zuma (File, Sapa)

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Cape Town - The National Council of Provinces passed an amendment bill without debate on Tuesday to restructure the corruption fighting Hawks unit in line with the Constitutional Court's Glenister ruling.

The bill was approved in the National Assembly on 23 May, with the Democratic Alliance and Freedom Front Plus opposing, and now goes to President Jacob Zuma to sign into law.

During debate in the Assembly, the ANC insisted it gave the unit adequate independence, as the court demanded, and the opposition dismissed it as a minimalist attempt to appease the bench.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa defended the decision to leave the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), better known as the Hawks, in the police force, contrary to proposals from several
security and legal experts.

He said there was no international imperative to relocate the unit and the final bill guaranteed its operational and structural autonomy.

The bill, an amendment to section six of the SA Police Service Act, was reworked to make the head of the Hawks report to the police minister, and not the national commissioner.

Earlier this month, businessman Hugh Glenister said he would take his campaign over the Hawks back to the Constitutional Court if necessary.

Glenister was readying himself to take government back to the court if the latest version of the bill was approved by the NCOP, he said in a statement issued on his behalf on August 15.

"Having come this far with my campaign to have an adequately independent and efficient anti-corruption entity, I will not give up if the bill is passed," he said.

The Scorpions, an investigating unit which fell under the National Prosecuting Authority, was dissolved in 2008 to be replaced by the Hawks, which fell under the SAPS.

However, in a case brought by Glenister in 2011, the Constitutional Court invalidated the SAPS Amendment bill for 18 months, or until 18 September 2012.

The executive was ordered to remedy the legislation to provide the Hawks unit with adequate specialisation and training; independence from political influence and interference; guaranteed resources; and, security of tenure for the unit's officials.
- SAPA

Read more on:    police  |  hawks  |  jacob zuma  |  hugh glenister  |  legislation
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