Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

The ANC wants the head of the new specialised unit that will replace the directorate of special operations (DSO) - known as the Scorpions - to be appointed by the Minister of Safety and Security.

The move to disband the Scorpions is in terms of the the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill and South African Police Service Amendment Bill.

The bills allow for the establishment of a new special investigation unit under the South African Police Service.

The unit is at present under the control of the national prosecuting authority (NPA), which has come under a cloud for allegedly allowing former president Thabo Mbeki's executive to interfere in its prosecution of ANC president Jacob Zuma.

The ruling party also wants the unit to report to parliament at least four times a year and make public its annual report.

Yesterday ANC MP and justice portfolio committee chairman Yunus Carrim indicated that the unit would not only be staffed with members of the SAPS, but would also include individuals seconded from Sars, intelligence agencies and Home Affairs.

But opposition parties are not happy with the ANC position.

Yesterday ACDP's Steve Swart said his party was "totally opposed to the new crime fighting unit being under the control of SAPS", calling for the unit to be "completely independent".

Swart said as long as the unit was part of the SAPS it was unlikely to pursue cases of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering against Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.

The DA's Tertius Delport said his party was "not blind to the problems that have arisen but the Scorpions worked and we must remedy defects instead of disbanding the unit".

The IFP's Velaphi Ndlovu said the new unit must be controlled by a board of directors.