Minister: All Scorpions probes will be finalised

Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula on Tuesday gave the assurance that all cases currently under investigation by the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO), or Scorpions, will be finalised.

”There is not a single case that was investigated by the Scorpions, which is under investigation now by the Scorpions, that will not be finalised.

”All of those cases will be finalised,” he told a media briefing at Parliament.

High-profile cases currently under investigation by the Scorpions include those relating to African National Congress president Jacob Zuma, police National Commissioner Jackie Selebi and J Arthur Brown of Fidentia.

Nqakula said the Scorpions would continue their investigations while the process of establishing the new Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) was under way.

The DPCI will replace the DSO and the organised-crime unit and commercial branch of the police.

He also rejected suggestions the Scorpions’ closure and the loss of skills from the unit, such as its head, Leonard McCarthy, to the World Bank, would weaken the fight against organised crime.

Nqakula said the DSO had been established specifically to fight organised crime, but despite its existence and two police units, organised crime continued to be a problem.

”And having arrived at that determination, obviously, we wanted to produce something that would be able to deal with this concern. That is what is driving us.

”And if the DSO worked, in terms of the purpose for which it was established, why should this new unit, which therefore relies on the experiences we’ve already amassed regarding this matter, not be a successful unit?

”As far as we are concerned, what we will produce will be a better organisation to deal with organised crime,” he said.

Nqakula was also unconcerned about the skills exodus from the Scorpions.

”You can’t say, because certain people have left, therefore what remains is weakened structures. You can’t say that.

”For as long as there are people, those people will be converted into the good professionals we require to discharge any function.

”People who want to be part of the new establishment will become part of the new establishment and those who do not want to be part … will of course, not make themselves available.

”This is human, it happens all the time. We will recruit people. We will ensure that the best people available are inspanned, including to this new division,” Nqakula said. — Sapa

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