Tit-for-tat stings trust

The public must feel every bit intrigued by the latest episode involving the SAPS and the Scorpions.

The public must feel every bit intrigued by the latest episode involving the SAPS and the Scorpions.

Quite known to all is that relations between the SAPS and the Scorpions have been strained for a long time. This is in spite of official denials.

Turf battles between the two crucial arms of the country's criminal justice system have increased tensions to the extent that a commission was appointed to determine the future of the Scorpions.

Ongoing pressure that the Scorpions should be incorporated into the SAPS or close shop has not helped.

Casting a cloud between the agencies had been reports that SAPS commissioner Jackie Selebi was the subject of a low-key probe by the Scorpions. Barring an announcement by the NPA all seems to point to Selebi's imminent arrest.

But what has raised a spectre of tit-for-tat battles between the two organs is this week's arrest of top Scorpion investigator Gerrie Nel, who has been leading the probe against Selebi. Nel was arrested on a charge of corruption and defeating the ends of justice.

Inevitably, the timing of Nel's arrest has raised suspicions of intimidation.

The integrity of the two agencies has been damaged by the country's top prosecutor and the police chief checkmating each other in a public duel. This will undoubtedly serve to undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system in the end.

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