Police refuse to let go of Hawks

2012-05-02 16:05

Cape Town - The police on Wednesday dismissed calls to move the Hawks outside their control to give the corruption-fighting unit greater independence.

"The issue of where to locate the DPCI (Directorate Priority Crimes Investigation) has been dealt with extensively before. It is not our role to recreate those discussions," police secretary Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane told MPs.

She stressed that in ruling last year that the Hawks' founding legislation was unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court did not demand that the unit be relocated outside the police.

"The court did not rule that the Hawks had to be outside the South African Police Service. The judgment does not require the creation of a new structure."

Irish-Qhobosheane was responding to submissions by legal experts and policy think-tanks on a draft amendment to the SA Police Service Act to restructure the Hawks in line with the court's ruling in the Glenister case.

The majority judgment stated that South Africa's commitments under international treaties obliged it to have an independent anti-corruption unit, and faulted the act for failing to insulate the Hawks adequately from interference.

But Irish-Qhobosheane said international best practice did not offer a standard definition of independence and it was an accepted fact that "anti-corruption bodies do depend on and account to those in power".

She argued nonetheless that the bill satisfied the demands of the court by scaling back the role of the ministerial committee and giving Parliament the final say over the unit's policy directives.

In public hearings last week, constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos cautioned that the draft act still left too much scope for meddling by members of the executive - who might themselves become subject to investigation.

This was because the ministerial committee could still issue instructions to the Hawks' operational committee, providing a "back door" for political pressure to be brought to bear on the unit.

De Vos also argued that said it was hard to see how legislators could leave the Hawks in the police, and satisfy the court's call for a reasonable perception of independence.

The Constitutional Court gave Parliament 18 months to amend the legislation, leaving lawmakers until September to meet the deadline.

The location of the unit has been under debate for years.

In 2009, Parliament disbanded the Hawks' predecessor, the Scorpions in line with a resolution taken at the ANC's Polokwane conference in 2007, despite its conviction rate of more than 90%.

The Scorpions were located in the National Prosecuting Authority but the political argument was made that locating an investigative unit within a branch of the judiciary interfered with the separation of powers.

  • John - 2012-05-02 16:17

    ja i am sure they would, cause their first port of call would be the sap

      Squeegee - 2012-05-02 16:23

      Be scared SAPS, be very scared!

      Piet - 2012-05-02 17:35

      No it is time to vote out the ANC, until then this is what we can expect.

      Stirer - 2012-05-02 18:31

      Of course they would say that, wouldn't they? the top echelons of the police are either in Jail, being investigated for fraud and corruption, or ready to be replaced by a person suspected of murder, assault and fraud. It's not a police force any more, it's a criminal gang.

      SaintBruce - 2012-05-02 21:32

      Let them report to the Public Protector - the ONLY voice that has earned respect for investigations. Her office could do with a manpower boost!

  • Philip - 2012-05-02 16:19

    Only the fool can fool the fool.

  • Peter - 2012-05-02 16:20

    Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane you obviously have something to hide else it wouldn't be a problem, ne?

  • Cameron - 2012-05-02 16:21

    This is due to 80% of the police being kuk scared of getting caught out!!! Especially those in high places! This is the only place in the world that will disband an organisation for doing well!! Careful hawks, dont do too well or you will probably be disbanded!

      maseratifittipaldi - 2012-05-02 19:33

      With the disbanding of the Scorpions and the creation of the Hawks, the definition of "doing well" has changed. Of course a unit like the Hawks should have absolutely no political or SAPS connection at all.

  • Joan - 2012-05-02 16:21

    This ANC regime is looking more like a dictatorship every day ...

      Lacrimose - 2012-05-02 19:43

      Yep, we live in a demockery

  • mary.kircher - 2012-05-02 16:22

    well, we all know why, don't we .... the Scorpions should never have been disbanded to begin with .... too many corrupt poliitions and others shaking in their boots was the real reason !

  • SA - 2012-05-02 16:33

    Corruption…Corruption and more corruption – Sad to see how around leaders continue to act, there are creating grounds for a lawless country – very very sad.

  • Bryan - 2012-05-02 16:48

    Try following a 1st world system i.e the USA... FBI does not fall under the control of the police body, hence they enjoy the freedom to fight crime as they see fit..!! In fact, a national police body can never work as the levels of corruption out-weigh the actual force of manpower to fight it. This is a slap in the face of law abiding South Africans who long for the system to apply as a "fair justice for all" scenario. Right now we have crooks and thugs policing the do-gooders so that they can serve their own crooked needs while the majority of those in 'POWER'need to be behind bars...!!!!

      Piet - 2012-05-02 19:56

      in a turd world? You must be joking.

      Stirer - 2012-05-03 06:18

      Isn't this like the saying of letting the prisoners run the jail?

  • Joe - 2012-05-02 17:19

    Anybody know what the Hawks conviction rate is?

  • Glyn - 2012-05-02 17:21

    Vote DA for a super-dupa Scorpions ver 2.0

      Siyabonga - 2012-05-02 19:02

      If we give DA power politics wont be interesting anymore. The new version scorpions wil be fighting DA coz DA need the corrupt people's vote to win.

      Piet - 2012-05-02 19:51

      Sad to see that ANC voters are corrupt....S

  • Jannie - 2012-05-02 17:26

    And so the ANC & Zuma MAFIA will do every thing, even illegal to protect their corrupt and fraudulent lavish livestyles. Even try to shoot an honest but respectful prosecuter by her own department.

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-02 17:28

    The hawks should be renamed like the streets to hANCs.

  • Nicholas - 2012-05-02 17:46

    So once again, they have to be dragged to court to do the right thing. Getting this government to do what is right is like trying to get a bone out of a dogs mouth.

  • Gieljam - 2012-05-02 18:35

    The police cant even control their own what to say other departments of course they will try and keep the hawks as canaries in a cage while they carry on with their tarnished image...

  • brainbowgold - 2012-05-02 20:56

    We need to follow this story very very carefully as it is at the essence of what we have fought for.

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