DA demands answers over Scorpions ‘u-turn’

2008-05-02 00:00

Cape Town — Vowing to “fight tooth and nail” the dissolution of the Scorpions, the DA yesterday called on cabinet to to explain its “dramatic u-turn” in approving a bill that proposes the incorporation of the Scorpions into the SA Police Services.

DA leader Helen Zille said that cabinet owes South Africa an explanation for its approval of the bill.

“They need to explain why they have taken such a dramatic u-turn on the issue,” she said, after cabinet approved two bills that see the end of the Scorpions as an independent unit under the National Prosecuting Authority [NPA] and establish a new crime-fighting unit within the SAPS.

The two bills are the General Law Amendment Bill and the National Prosecuting Amendment Bill.

Zille pointed out that, less than two years ago, the cabinet endorsed the Khampepe Commission’s recommendation to retain the Scorpions in the NPA. “At the time, cabinet concurred with Judge Sisi Khampepe’s finding that the rationale for the Scorpions “remained valid”.

“So what has changed? What has happened in this period that warrants the disbanding of the most successful crime-fighting unit in the country,” she asked. “The answer is: Polokwane. The ANC leadership that emerged from that conference wants to see the Scorpions disbanded to protect high profile members from investigations.”

Zille said that two weeks ago ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe admitted that the ANC wanted to see the Scorpions closed because it was “targeting ANC leaders”. “It has nothing to do with ‘strengthening the fight against crime’, as cabinet would have us believe,” she said.

Zille said that the DA, along with two-thirds of the country, believe that the dissolution of the Scorpions will weaken the fight against crime and the DA will fight to prevent this.

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