OPINION: Mbalula’s return to Hollywood arrests is a disaster

Why were the Scorpions disbanded in 2009?

Does the nation remember this unit that investigated and prosecuted organised crime and corruption? Under the Scorpions TonyYengeni, the late Jackie Selebi and the “terminally ill” Schabir Shaik were successfully prosecuted  all ANC heavyweights.

One of the many reasons that led to the unit being disbanded was their alleged Hollywood style arrests in full view of the media. High-profile politicians, who claimed to be innocent, complained about the spectacular arrests. This was also one of the reasons used by President Jacob Zuma and his then supporters, Cosatu and the SACP, to disband the unit.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, who at the time was a prominent member of the ANC Youth League,also supported the view. On Friday, the Supreme Court o fAppeal (SCA) confirmed that the decision to withdraw the 783 criminal charges against President Zuma had been irrational.

 Former National Prosecuting Authority(NPA) boss Mokotedi Mpshe withdrew the criminal charges against Zuma in 2009. The charges were the result of investigations conducted by the Scorpions .The Scorpions were a dedicated, crime fighting unit disbanded in2009, and they were replaced by the Hawks .

The Hawks have so far not prosecuted any influential people despite a slew of cases brought to them in which ANC heavyweights are alleged to be involved in state capture. Zuma and the NPA now face two options following Friday ’s ruling by the SCA: either the president is prosecuted or they tear up the Constitution and throw it away.

The SCA ruling basically says Zuma was not supposed to be president but should by now be wearing orange in jail if he was successfully prosecuted. However,this is a discussion for another day. What made me remember why the Scorpions were disbanded is an incident in which Mbalula supported and celebrated the Hollywood-style arrest of innocent people in Cape Town.

Police suspected the men of being connected to the murder of 11people in Philippi two weeks ago. Unlike Zuma, these men really are innocent. They were on their way to bury a loved one. They were in mourning but their rights were violated by Mbalula and his police. Instead of being taken in for questioning, police handcuffed them, forcing them to lie on the ground to wait hours for Mbalula so he could take pictures.

Given Mbalula’s stance against Hollywood style arrests, is he now going to motivate for the disbandment of the police?

 It is important for leaders to be consistent. Mbalula’s hypocrisy has been exposed. Now we know that the Scorpions were disbanded to protect Zuma.

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