Scorpions' disbanding 'is to protect ANC'

The African National Congress (ANC) is getting rid of the Scorpions in order to protect prominent ANC members from corruption charges, according to the leader of the Democratic Alliance, Cape Town mayor Helen Zille.

Zille said on Monday that besides the seven convicted criminals on the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC), six NEC members are currently the subject of criminal investigations. At least two of these are currently being investigated by the Scorpions.

“Ngoako Ramathlodi is being investigated by the Scorpions for allegedly being a secret shareholder in a company that received a multimillion-rand tender from the Limpopo provincial government when he was premier of the province,” Zille said. “Another ANC NEC member, Thaba Mufamadi, is being investigated by the Scorpions for receiving bribes in a social-grants tender award.”

She also recalled that the impending charges against Jackie Selebi and the indictment of Jacob Zuma came about because of investigations by the Scorpions.

“In time, further investigations by the Scorpions would no doubt reveal the extent of the web of corruption surrounding the ANC,” she suggested.

She said that the government’s decision to disband the Scorpions, in line with the ANC’s resolution at Polokwane, is clearly an attempt to destroy the most effective corruption-busting force in the country.

“The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the government is getting rid of the Scorpions to protect prominent ANC members from corruption charges,” she said.

“The view that the government is disbanding the Scorpions to protect ANC members is given further credence by the fact that the Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, has announced that she will hurry the legislation through Parliament by June this year. This calls into question her ability to carry out her parliamentary role impartially while holding high political office in the ruling party.”

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa on Monday questioned the deadline set by the ANC for the Scorpions to be incorporated into the South African Police Service (SAPS).

“Why, of all the pressing issues that face the nation, is the new ANC leadership obsessed with this one issue? The people of this country have been crying out for years upon years for the ANC to address unemployment, poverty and crime,” Holomisa said in a statement.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Sunday that the resolution to incorporate the Scorpions into the SAPS was not informed by or linked to the charges against ANC president Jacob Zuma.

“The question of the charges against the president never arose in the meeting,” he said.

Holomisa said there were no justifiable reasons for disbanding the Scorpions.

“We are not blind to the fact that a disturbing amount of people who now think they control the ANC, and indeed the entire country, have pending cases against them.

Behind the scenes

Meanwhile, the ANC has laid down the law to President Thabo Mbeki following two days of discussions between its NEC and the Cabinet, the Sunday Times reported.

Behind the scenes, the ANC was moving to get Mbeki to appoint party deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe as a second deputy president in the government, the newspaper said. “The move would give the ANC direct access to state power and ease differences between the government and ruling party.”

At the NEC lekgotla (meeting), the first attended by Mbeki since he and most of his ministers were removed from the leadership of the ANC in December last year, it was made clear to him that he must regularly attend NEC meetings to account for how the government is implementing ANC policy, the Sunday Times said.

“If he is failing to honour that obligation, we have no choice but to dismiss him,” one NEC member reportedly said.

The NEC was also planning to deploy Cabinet ministers to 20 ANC subcommittees dealing with various policies, the newspaper reported.

It was also made clear to Mbeki that the investigations unit of the National Prosecuting Authority, the Scorpions, must be incorporated into the police force by June.

It was also put to him that the court system must be restructured before he leaves office. One of the main aims is to make the Constitutional Court the final court of appeal on all matters, the report said.

NEC members said Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Brigitte Mabandla would have to table the Superior Courts Bill urgently—it was withdrawn from Parliament at the request of Mbeki pending consultation with judges.—I-Net Bridge, Sapa

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