Push to disband Scorpions hits snags

Efforts to push legislation through Parliament to disband the Scorpions are falling behind schedule, the deputy president’s office said on Thursday.

“It’s mainly because of consultation with the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] and the DSO [Directorate of Special Operations—the Scorpions], which has taken much longer than was thought,” said Thabang Chiloane, spokesperson for Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

In a letter to political parties on Friday, Mlambo-Ngcuka wrote that the required Bill could only be tabled before Parliament during May, and not March as was initially announced.

The government had been “unavoidably” led to this conclusion following an “assessment of the necessary process”.

The African National Congress (ANC) decided at its national conference in December last year that the Scorpions would be disbanded by June at the latest.

Once the General Law Amendment Bill had been tabled, it was to go to Parliamentary committees for discussion.
Public hearings would also be held. There was also a legal challenge under way, which could delay the process even further.

The Democratic Alliance said it was increasingly likely that the Bill would not be passed this year.

“The letter from the deputy president is a clear indication that the process of disbanding the Scorpions has been poorly thought out and planned, underscoring the idea that this was a disastrous idea from the onset,” said the party’s spokesperson for safety and security, Dianne Kohler-Barnard.

She said the ANC had “completely misjudged” both the parliamentary process and the public’s widespread support of the Scorpions.—Sapa