Scorpions judgment 'not expected'

2011-03-17 14:18

Johannesburg - Businessman Hugh Glenister was "shell shocked" by the Constitutional Court ruling that part of the legislation enabling the disbanding of the Scorpions and launch of the Hawks was constitutionally invalid.

"I am a little bit shell shocked. I was really not expecting this," Glenister told Sapa.

The court ruled on Wednesday that the legislation was constitutionally invalid because it did not provide enough protection against political influence for the Hawks, a specialist investigative unit within the police.

It ordered that Chapter 6A of the South Africa Police Services Act 68 of 1995, as amended, be sent back to Parliament, with the order of constitutional invalidity suspended for 18 months, until it has been rectified.

Legal challenge

Glenister took the case through the courts following a decision taken at the ANC's 2007 Polokwane conference that the Directorate of Special Operations, known as the Scorpions, be disbanded. The ANC had repeatedly accused the Scorpions of a political agenda as it tried to prosecute President Jacob Zuma for allegedly accepting a bribe facilitated by his former financial advisor Schabir Shaik and French arms company Thint.

After Shaik's conviction and sentence for corruption and fraud, the Scorpions pursued Zuma and Thint. This was however dropped due to interference in that investigation.

"I am full of the joys of spring," said Glenister, who had cut a lone figure chain smoking during the court recesses of previous hearings on the matter.

He lost several times. Plans went ahead to disband the Scorpions, who fell under the National Prosecuting Authority and justice department, and form the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, (DPCI) otherwise known as the Hawks, within the structure of the police.

"I can only hope, but I cannot predict, that South Africans will now start tightening the reins on their politicians at every level, from the municipal to national."

Lone battle

At one point he considered giving up.

"But people were chirping in my ear and making me positive. When battling a lone battle there are times when you get despondent, you just want to walk away and say 'enough'. But human beings have the capacity to inspire others."

A Hawks spokesperson said they would comment after seeing the judgment.

In its ruling, the court explained that the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and international agreements on combating corruption, which had been approved by Parliament, required that states create independent anti-corruption entities.

The judges said the DPCI's activities must be co-ordinated by Cabinet, and that the statute provides that a ministerial committee may determine policy guidelines for the DPCI's functioning, and for the selection of national priority offences.

This makes the unit vulnerable to political interference, with inadequate safeguards.

"Conditions of service of the unit's members and in particular those applying to its head make it insufficiently independent. Members thus have inadequate employment security to carry out their duties vigorously; the appointment of members is not sufficiently shielded from political influence; and remuneration levels are flexible and not secured. These aspects make the unit vulnerable to an undue measure of political influence."


The judges also found the Constitution does not oblige Parliament to place a specialised corruption-fighting unit only within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), where the Scorpions had been situated.

During the Zuma investigation the NPA was dogged by controversy. One of its heads, Bulelani Ngcuka, eventually left after a long-standing impasse over a statement that although they had prima facie evidence Zuma was guilty, they would not prosecute him.

Another NPA head Vusi Pikoli was subjected to an inquiry over whether he was fit to hold office after the unit attempted to arrest former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi, who is now in the process of appealing a 15-year corruption sentence.

Although the inquiry concluded it could not find he was unfit to hold office, he was fired by former president Kgalema Motlanthe.

Selebi maintained he was the victim of a plot by the Scorpions.

  • jiamalunga - 2011-03-17 14:30

    Well Done!

      Sword&Cross - 2011-03-18 02:07

      Can imagine the flurry of ANC racist scum trotting off to their indian legal unscrupulous beagles to try and subvert this as quick as can be again, with a few adopted old Nationalist Party lawyers too. It will only be fair, for the Constitutional Court to declare the highly dubious, unethical and plagiarised decision by Mpshe unconstituional too, and have zuma declared null & void, put back on the roll for 783 and stripped of all wealth and assets gained fraudulently in his devious time impostering as a citizen and leader as well. ALONG WITH his Deathbed friends of course.

  • jiamalunga - 2011-03-17 14:32

    Just a bit to late seeing that the corrupt is ruling the country!

      Melly30 - 2011-03-17 14:39

      Not for long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "Jumps up and down"

  • Melly30 - 2011-03-17 14:32


      Bluemas - 2011-03-17 15:03

      Let us not forget the DA & the Guptas...all our political parties are corrupt period!

      Melly30 - 2011-03-17 15:11

      Least we all stand a chance with the DA... The ANC is raping this country... Look around you, see what is happening!

      Bluemas - 2011-03-17 15:14

      Brains aren't everything. In fact in your case they're nothing

      Tim - 2011-03-17 15:27

      Except the ANC MPs managed to pass an illegal law. They required a constitutional amendment, a power they do not have. What country do we live in where such a thing can be bulldozed through the legislature when it does not even uphold the highest law of our land? And what the hell is counter-revolutionary? There was no revolution!

      Felix - 2011-03-17 15:28

      Musa the MPs voted to avoid prosecution, which they all knew would catch up with them if the Scorpions weren't stopped. You and your comrades will have to answer for what you've done, just like the corrupt NATs. Bluemas go back to being Kolobe, that name has a better ring to it.

      edward.abrahams - 2011-03-17 15:44

      Bluemas - Your ANC is the CORRUPT political party...PERIOD! Musa - Call on your 'comrades' to fight for WHAT? Go to the SowetanONLINE blog and you'll find HUNDREDS of your 'comrades', FRUSTRATED at what your wonderful ANC is doing. AND there is a buzz about changing their vote...

      Bluemas - 2011-03-17 15:47 are the reason why i will never vote for DA(Dumb Association)

      Felix - 2011-03-17 15:55

      Aren't much of a christian are you though Bloumas?

      edward.abrahams - 2011-03-17 16:14

      Bluemas - The DA doesn't need people who support CORRUPTION! They are a party of VIRTUE and TRANSPARENCY! They are NOT perfect but neither are you or I. STOP following a party that has LOST its mind, Bluemas! You are proving to the world how foolish you are...

      Kenno - 2011-03-17 16:15

      @Musa - You talk about "our beautiful country" What is left of it!! read just today paper about how many CORRUPT ANC officials are being nailed..Cheryl Cwele,Shabir Shaik , Zuma,Selebietc etc and YOU believe in the ANC! Then, Sir, you are a fool of the highest order and you deserve what ever kak you get!

  • GT - 2011-03-17 14:38

    This should be leading every newspaper in the land for a week! The significance is EPIC. The little political solution at the top of government was flawed and so terribly concieved. Well done to Mr Glinister, you are a true patriot!

      genet - 2011-03-17 16:09

      Well done Mr. Glinister for standing up and being counted. Congratulations. Let us hope now that more people will have the same courage and tenaciousness that you have.

  • DW - 2011-03-17 14:41

    Interesting. I wonder how they will now proceed. There is no higher court so its not as if the government can fight this any further. My guess is they will just go to ground and ignore it and hope that everyone will just go away. Who wants to bet that the Hawks wont be disbanded and replaced by the Scorpions (or a similar unit)? Not sure if it will help at all, but if I was Bulelani Ngcuka or Vusi Pikoli I would sue their asses for a FAT golden handshake (which the taxpayers would have to fund, of course). We have the best constitution in the world (apparently) but, in the end, the government does what they please and we have to just live with it.

  • Slapper - 2011-03-17 14:42

    Thanks Hugh. I doubt it will reverse anything, but in time it will show the outside just how completely rotten this Government is.

  • Anthony - 2011-03-17 14:48

    Mr Glenister certainly is the definition of a true patriot and a national hero. Kudos to him. In my humble opinion we all owe him a debt of gratitude.

      mots - 2011-03-17 15:07

      I second, third and fourth that.It's a pity that these battles have to be lead by an ordinary citizen and a few decent political organisations

  • KaiinSA - 2011-03-17 14:51

    "The court ruled on Wednesday that the legislation was constitutionally invalid because it did not provide enough protection against political influence for the Hawks, a specialist investigative unit within the police." Following that logic then sure the SAPS is also constitutionally invalid because it does not provide enough protection against political influence. (recent examples Winnie and the raid on the Public Protectors Offices)

      Palser - 2011-07-03 17:35

      hello there i am currently writing a paper on the glenister case and its effects on the constitutional law but most importantly its effects on the doctrine of separation of powers. i was wondering if you could in any way provide som assistance my email is it would be highly appreciated as i am in dire need of jhelp and you seem to know quite a bit.

  • Anthony - 2011-03-17 14:54

    Mr Hugh Glenister is the true definiton of a patriot and a national hero. Kudos to him. As a nation I believe we all owe him a debt of gratitude. Thank you Sir.

      Kobus - 2011-03-17 15:02


      rams - 2011-03-17 15:18

      Seconded Anthony. Some idiots within the ANC used their political influence to dismantle the Scorpions.Mr.Hugh Glenister we owe you big time , Sir.The scorpions were not targeting the ANC but doing their job as the police unit.Arms deal caused us a lot of money and politicians who benefitted including the President of South Africa dismantle the scorpions to cover their tracks.I still believe that in South Africa we need a strong unit without any form of political interference to curb corruption.The office of the Public Protecter alone cannot fight this evil deeds.There is too much mismanagement of funds by this politician.I would like you and the Sunday times to dig down the tender awarded to Manto Tshabala Msimang's daughter for R1.93 billion IT System without tender process.The Hawks are turning a blind eye on that and so is the Public Protecter and Sars. Please use your influence to get this to be exposed

  • - 2011-03-17 14:58

    The ANC does as they please. Firing eveybody that is against them or disbanding evey organisation wanting to punnish them for their crimes, or if they are found guilty the president will just set them free. What a nice place South Africa has become. Thank you ANC. When this country becomes like the rest of Africa, it wouldn't be hard to find somebody to blame.

  • ashr - 2011-03-17 15:06

    This restores some of my faith in the court. Good job.

  • Bonzer - 2011-03-17 15:11

    Wait for it, the ANC will soon accuse the judges of being racist and having an agenda. Anyway this judgement is meaningless, the damage has been done and can never be undone. JZ has entrenched himself and his cronies in the halls of power and will never be ousted. They will never lose and election, all future elections will be fixed. Hope is dead, South Africa is finished.

      Felix - 2011-03-17 15:57

      Yup, ACDP supporter? I didn't think so...

      Felix - 2011-03-18 00:09

      Keep running Bloumas, I will find you... You give youself away with you insightful comments mwhaahahaha.

  • mhlebe - 2011-03-17 15:18

    Ah come on guys.Do you really live in SA.Of course the govt will ignore the ruling.Did the concort ever have clout and similtaneously do you really think the criminal in charge would allow a org that nearly cost him becoming a bilionaire,to be brought back.Eish madodda

      Granty J - 2011-03-17 15:41

      "Did the concort ever have clout" Uh yes, rulings of the con court are binding on all citizens and organs of government. Will We see the scorpions back? Unlikely. What we will see is the constitution, a vehicle of protection, protect the nation and not the government.

  • Currie_Mafia - 2011-03-17 15:19

    I knight thee, Sir Glen :)

      genet - 2011-03-17 16:12

      I second that!

  • Stanton - 2011-03-17 15:29

    Hugh Glenister , you beauty , my president , well done now its ttime to take the power back and break the backs of this corrupt government. I wish I could meet you in person and shake your hand.

      Bluemas - 2011-03-17 15:31

      He will be your president in Ireland not in this beautiful country of ours!

      Bonzer - 2011-03-17 15:50

      @Bluemas. Quite right, in SA an upstanding, honest, intelligent, law abiding decent citizen who clearly loves his country and puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to defending it, will never be tolerated as a president.

      Wovenivy - 2011-03-17 15:54

      @Bluemas. It used to be beautiful & it used to be functional. Now... not so much! Good job Mr Glenister!

  • briansmith702 - 2011-03-17 15:50

    The ANC did everything in their power to stop independant investigations of high ranking ANC officials so thet they could plunder. Lets see what their next step is????

  • Bheki - 2011-03-17 15:50

    Thank you very much for your hard work and your dedication to see justice being done. It is my understanding that if somebody breach our constitution is commiting a crime, if it was a president who has done that he/she should be arrested. In this case who will be going down. I think government has highly qualified lawyers that should have given them their opinion on this matter, what should happened to them?

      Melly30 - 2011-03-17 16:02

      ROT in hell! And give what they took to all the people still living like pigs!

  • Totman - 2011-03-17 16:04

    @ Musa Ngubane copy and paste that "stupid" part. I also wants to read it. The comrades are already standing at street corners, looking for work. The REAL ANC is currently only in peoples minds[memories] and history books. This beautiful country is burning from crime and negligence. The counter-revolutionary forces are the individuals that are using you and a party to lead us all into a darkness that were created by their greed. Please do not speak out like this again. You will cause more pain to people that are stretched out to their limits.

  • Ben - 2011-03-17 16:12

    Scorpions FTW!!! Take out the trash! Wonder how long before they start ruffling the corrupt feathers and get dismissed again...

  • CraigColinRoyMcLeod - 2011-03-17 16:13

    This man should be the next Mandela. We as a country replaced one evil for a greater evil at least he is standing up against that evil.

  • Khangelani - 2011-03-17 16:24

    The court rulling in favor of Mr. Hugh Glenister is actually a victory for all South Africans. The ANC is taking us for a ride as much as it does not respect the rule of law and SA citizens, then it must enjoy the good lesson. Everyone cried out for their action including opposition parties as well as independent institutions, hence they chose to ignore all of that. Now they must have a taste of thier own medice. The reaction we must axpect from the ANC, is to critisize the judges and the jugdement itself, hence it will be rendered as an incompetent institutions by the ANC. The decission to abolish the scorpions was meant to protect their allies from corruption activities they involved in.

  • geewiz - 2011-03-17 16:46

    The tide is turning, oh YES!

  • YES - 2011-03-17 17:30

    By this judgment and many others before, the Concourt reaaffirmed the independence of the judiciary and my confidence in the Constitutional Court.

  • 50something - 2011-03-17 17:38

    Well done bru! Should be interesting to see what happens now?

  • White_Rhino - 2011-03-17 19:07

    Mr Hugh Glenister should get a medal for his work. We salute you.

  • kevin.bradfield - 2011-03-17 20:45

    Well done, when we thought all was lost, a light at the end of the tunnel is not a train coming.

  • Christine - 2011-03-17 22:36

    Bob, finally, you had a beautiful day! Well done it for not giving up!

  • ludlowdj - 2011-03-18 07:07

    @Hugh Glenister Thank you for your determination and conviction, without people of your integrity and fortitude this country would have sunk into the rot that has epitomized the ANC rule to date.

  • Carl Muller - 2011-03-18 08:18

    Something is always impossible until someone coems along and shows that it can be done! I salute you! Remember that the impossible takes time, miracles take a bit longer.

  • Chiron - 2011-03-18 15:08

    Congratulations mr. Glenister, and thank you!

  • Chiron - 2011-03-18 15:08

    Congratulations mr. Glenister, and thank you!

  • CDS - 2011-03-28 10:48

    Well done Bob!! We need more people like you to spur the rest if us on.

  • Eric - 2011-03-31 13:38

    slim vang sy baas

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