My long, lonely crusade


When the ANC decided at its Polokwane conference in 2007 that it would disband the Scorpions, one man said: “No way. This is something I don’t like.” So he went to court to resist the move by South Africa’s ruling party.

For three years, he didn’t stop fighting. Hugh Glenister (52) has been vocal in his opposition ever since – and now he has won.

His legal costs amounted to more than R3,8 million, which came from his pocket, and many people called him crazy. Now he feels vindicated. “Now, at least I can say I was right.”

It’s a few days since the Constitutional Court ruled in his favour, finding that the Hawks aren’t sufficiently independent. The court has given the government 18 months to make the unit fully independent.

And although he celebrated his Constitutional Court victory with his legal team and staff, it’s been a lonely road.

“There were so many moments of self-doubt, so many times when I questioned what I was doing and just wanted to throw in the towel. But I am a strategist at heart, I see the bigger picture. I just had to keep my mind focused on the objective and look at what I was doing in the long term.”

He’s unfazed about the almost R4 million he spent on the case. “The money came from my company. There were some concerns from other shareholders about the expenses but we covered it and it paid off. So while the R3,8 million came from my pocket, you can in a sense say the other shareholders were also contributing financially,” he says.

It’s the success of his business that forced him to take a stand when the ANC announced it was going to disband the Scorpions.

“I started my business with R45 in my pocket, and corruption is taking away that opportunity for entrepreneurs today. I had to make a stand! The Scorpions weren’t perfect, there was some meddling for sure, but they were better than what we have now,” he says.

“What I’m doing is proving to the man on the street that one man can make a difference. To make a difference you have to stand up for what you believe in. You have to make a noise and you have to make it loud!”

Read the full article in YOU, 31 March 2011.

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