Hawks to be restructured

2011-08-16 21:13

Cape Town - Legislation to restructure the Hawks in accordance with the court ruling that the laws that brought the unit to life were unconstitutional will be tabled to Cabinet in October, police secretary Jenny Irish-Quobosheane said on Tuesday.

"We will be able to take it to the first Cabinet meeting in October," she told Parliament's portfolio committee on police.

"It will be tabled in Parliament in November."

The new legislation needs to be implemented no later than September 17 2012 and Irish-Quobosheane said the intention was to get it to MPs well ahead of the deadline.

The Constitutional Court in March ruled, by a majority of five to four, that Section 6A of the SA Police Service Act, that set up the Hawks or directorate for priority crime investigation (DPCI), was unconstitutional.

The court found that the legislation failed to insulate the Hawks sufficiently from political interference because it gives a ministerial committee the power to co-ordinate the functioning of the unit.

It found that the committee's power to lay down guidelines for the Hawks posed a "plain risk of executive and political influence on investigations".

The court gave Parliament 18 months to remedy the constitutional defects in the Police Service Act.

The portfolio committee was briefed at length on Tuesday by the director of the Hawks, Anwa Dramat, on the court judgment, but lawmakers were not given insight into the amendments being drafted.

Committee chair Sindi Chikunga did not allow questions on the content of the amendment bill, telling MPs the purpose of the meeting was rather to get insight into the time frames set for the task.

Police commissioner

Irish-Quobosheane said the police were consulting with academics on the amendments.

Dramat in his presentation said the court had found that the new unit had a "lower status" than the Scorpions, which it replaced, because its members did not have secured remuneration levels.

He also pointed out that the head of the Scorpions could only be removed from office by the president on very clear grounds because he had the status of a deputy national director of public prosecution, whereas the head of the Hawks was accountable to the national police commissioner.

The Constitutional Court found that though the law requires the Hawks to submit guidelines to Parliament, the legislature's powers are insufficient to remedy the lack of independence that flows from the vast powers of the ministerial committee.

The committee consists of the ministers of police, finance, home affairs, intelligence and justice and has the power, along with the head of the Hawks, to determine what the reports to Parliament contain.


There has been considerable tension between Dramat and lawmakers over the decision to close the last chapters of the investigation into alleged corruption in the arms deal.

The Democratic Alliance accused him of trying to escape oversight.

An ANC MP said lawmakers were "rather relieved" that the court ruling was forcing a law change because the judges had pointed to the same issues in the law that had troubled many in the legislature.

The Hawks were created after the ruling African National Congress decided to disband the directorate of special operations, known as the Scorpions, which also implicated President Jacob Zuma in questionable deals.

The challenge to the legislation enabling the disbanding of the unit was brought by businessman Hugh Glenister.

  • FIO - 2011-08-16 21:29

    Why is it that whenever one of these strats to do a good job of rooting out corruption, with the majority of the corruption being committed within the very body that put the Hawks in place, namely government, do such organisation suddenly need restructuring. When somethign works, leave it alon, unless you want to screw it up. I guess government is doing just that, interfering in a working thing in order to cfrews it up to protect their sorry arses. Government needs restructuring, not the Hawks, or Scorpion, or CPU etc etc etc etc etc etc

      Valkerie - 2011-08-16 21:39

      @ FIO: I suggest read the article again? All that you're suggesting is actually being addressed through the restructuring process... or at least we hope so. But it's certainly a better idea than leaving things as-is. - 2011-08-16 21:43

      Easy... When they hit to close to the ANC homes... Fire the lot...

      ZA_R - 2011-08-16 21:58

      @FIO, I totally agree, well it was expected, corruption needs to be covered up, Just like the scorpions, the Hawks will make a quick exit, justice never prevails in SA. Government will do everything in their power to cover up, unfortunately it is the likes of you and me who suffers in the long term, as we believe in the LAW, which no longer exists. @Valkerie, restructuring process,please check who makes up the committee, the committee is made up of mostly corrupt officials, need I say more, just lets hope you are right

      FIO - 2011-08-17 07:50

      @Valkerie Yes, the restructuring will be to bring it in line with COnstitution and remove the powers of politicians, but in the process the Hawks will inevitably be restructured so that many of the investigations currently underway will fall by the wayside. Its what happened with the Scorpions. In addition, no doubt the good officers and investigators will be replaced by comrades for the "cause", protecting rather than investigating corruption within government. The whole idea of not making the Hawks constitutionally complaint was so that when change was needed, as is the case now to protect certain politicians, the change could be implemented legally and within the framework of the constitution, tus not ruffling feathers as happened when the Scorpions were broken up.

  • k1dbl4ck - 2011-08-16 22:22

    Why didnt they just keep the Scorpions? Its like political ping pong. Now they want to cut the Hawks free, and then when they start investigating a bit close to home, they will be disbanded, and perhaps (God willing) the Pandas will be formed.

  • Thabo - 2011-08-16 22:30

    Why bother, they are useless anyway.

  • Rhowen - 2011-08-17 07:52

    As long as ANC stays the hell away from them and how they operate, we might see some fun!

  • Michael - 2011-08-18 17:32

    I think we should just drop all the pretence, point to the elephant in the room, accept that this elite unit is nothing more than another blue light brigade there to serve and protect the ANC Govt, and call them The Puppets. The Pandas is nice, but as an animal, they have strength and power, and are nearly extinct - just like the Scorpions (except the Scorps ARE extinct). The Puppets is a better name. very informative of it's purpose too. What's left? perhaps we should just line up outside the Union Buildings with our cheque books - perhaps we can actually save some money that way - instead of all these costs and structures and expenditure needed to rape our wallets and collect taxes, we can save billions by just giving them our money. We'll save FORTUNES on running and installing the toll systems, and every other govt agency designed to separate us from our money. Viva ANC, oomsheenee-waaah, stomp stomp, and let's kill the boer while we're at it. And be nice to Zuma, ok? He's just misunderstood. And leave Malema and his non-existent millions alone. He's an honest fine upstanding young poor man. All he wants to do is march on the rich whites in Sandton and he should be allowed to, it's his democratic right. And shower after sex, it will stop your AIDS, k? But you DO have AIDS however, just eat beetroot - and get drunk - this was Mbeki's solution. viva ANC.

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