Revised Hawks bill seen as constitutional sham
The National Council of Provinces passed an amendment bill without debate yesterday which is intended to restructure the Hawks unit in line with the Constitutional Court's ruling that part of the legislation used to disband the Scorpions was invalid.
The ruling came after a long legal struggle instituted by businessman Hugh Glenister.
The bill was approved in the National Assembly on May 23, with the DA and Freedom Front Plus opposing, and now goes to President Jacob Zuma, who is expected to sign it into law.
The opposition parties do not believe that the amendment bill passes muster and claim that the ANC is only doing the bare minimum to satisfy the Constitutional Court.
During debate in the Assembly, the ANC insisted the amendment would give the Hawks adequate independence, as the court demanded.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa defended the decision to leave the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, better known as the Hawks, in the police force, contrary to proposals from several security and legal experts.
The bill, an amendment to section six of the South African Police Service Act, was reworked to make the head of the Hawks report to the Police Minister, and not the national commissioner.
Earlier this month, Glenister said he would relaunch his campaign if necessary.
"Having come this far with my campaign to have an adequately independent and efficient anti-corruption entity, I will not give up if the bill is passed," he said.
Among other stipulations, the court ruling ordered the executive to provide the Hawks unit with independence from political influence and interference, guaranteed resources, and security of tenure for the unit's officials.