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Mcebo Dlamini appears in court. Picture Credit: Julia Madibogo
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'Scorpions don't sting enough'

By unknown | Aug 08, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

As expected, more heat than light was generated on the final day of the public hearings in Parliament into new laws that will disband the Directorate of Special Operations, commonly known as Scorpions.

The South African Police Service amendment bill and National Prosecuting Authority amendment bill will see "selected" Scorpions investigators incorporated into a new SAPS unit, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI).

Parties supporting the Scorpions dissolution said the unit had failed in its mandate of fighting organised crime, instead concentrating on a few high-level ANC members.

Some of the ANC members who have been stung by the Scorpions include ANC president Jacob Zuma, national police commissioner Jackie Selebi and former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni.

Yengeni was convicted of failing to disclose a discount he received from a company that bid for the government's multi-billion rand arms deal.

South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) general secretary Thulas Nxesi yesterday said: "They [Scorpions) have failed to combat organised crime, which is not about a few high-level politicians in the ANC.

"Schools are full of drugs and organised criminals are still out on the streets," Nxesi told Parliament.

Nxesi also criticised the plea bargain offered by the Scorpions to Mark Thatcher - son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

He was allowed to pay a fine of R3million to escape prosecution for allegedly funding a coup in Equatorial Guinea.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said: "Even if there was a police officer for each and every street in South Africa, if you still have these socio-economic conditions, the fight against crime will fail."

David Bruce of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation said the Scorpions were vital to combat police corruption.

He was told, however, that the Independent Complaints Directorate was there to deal with police corruption.


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