‘Come clean on Scorpions’

2008-02-08 00:00

Cape Town — Come clean and tell us the fate of the Scorpions. This was the unanimous call from opposition parties yesterday, following Thabo Mbeki’s speech.

Opposition parties across the spectrum criticised Mbeki’s failure to address the Scorpions issue, saying his speech was too vague on the issue.

While Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Sandra Botha said the president’s failure to address the issue means the "end of the Scorpions", the Inkatha Freedom Party said the closure of the Scorpions will be detrimental to the country and the fight against crime in SA.

"We are dismayed that President Thabo Mbeki did not clarify in his state of the nation address today, whether or not the Scorpions will be dissolved or not," said IFP chief whip Koos van der Merwe.

Van der Merwe echoed the view of other parties that the disbanding of the Scorpions is a political decision.

"If this ludicrous decision was based on merit there would be no reason for disbanding the unit, because the Scorpions have been extremely successful in combating corruption and other crimes.

"The ruling party’s rush to silence one of the country’s top crime fighting units, and one that has consistently delivered, gives the impression of settling personal scores within the ANC."

Freedom Front leader Pieter Mulder, as well as his counterparts in the Independent Democrats and the African Christian Democratic Party and the United Democratic Movement, lamented the fact that no clear statements were made on the Scorpions’ future, or Zimbabwe and the independence of the judiciary.

"We are concerned about his evasiveness. His reference to the Khampepe Commission does not necessarily imply he will follow its recommendations," said UDM leader Bantu Holomisa.

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