S.A BEING RULED FROM LETHULI HOUSE:
Nqakula accused of brown-nosing
The minister's premature announcement in Parliament on Tuesday that the Scorpions would be "dissolved" and merged with the police's organised crime unit, appeared to have taken several people in government and the ANC by surprise.
Not only is he said to have shocked Mabandla, but even President Thabo Mbeki appeared to have been caught off guard.
It is understood that Nqakula's announcement was in line with a "mandate" from Luthuli House - following a meeting he attended, along with Mabandla, with ANC top brass a fortnight ago.
The ANC leadership apparently told the two ministers what they expected from them in terms of the Scorpions.
Another meeting has been set for Monday at which the two ministers will brief the ANC's subcommittee on peace and stability.
However, some ANC MPs this week accused Nqakula of "currying favour" with the new party bosses.
They said Nqakula had not communicated the plan to them when he, acting Police Commissioner Tim Williams and Mabandla, briefed the party's parliamentary peace and security cluster committee on Monday.
Nqakula's comments also drew fire from opposition parties. They accused him of undermining Parliament by pronouncing on the Scorpions' dissolution even before the parliamentary process had begun.
AND THE "LEGISLATION WENT AHEAD TO PROTECT ZUMA AND OTHERS FROM THEIR OWN CRIMES AFORE THEY GET JAILED AS WELL- IRRESPECTIVE WHETHER IT WAS SERVED IN APRLIAMENT OR NOT- TYPICAL SA...A SET OF RULES FOR THE ANC- AND ONE FOR THE "COMMONERS."
SA to oppose Scorpions interdict
Kevin Louis, attorney for Johannesburg businessman Hugh Glenister, said on Tuesday that government had responded to his client's March 18 court application.
This comes after Glenister launched an application in the Pretoria High Court to stop the disbanding of the Scorpions.
"The President, the ministers of safety and security, justice and constitutional development have indicated they will oppose the matter while the National Director of Public Prosecutions and the head of the Directorate of Special Prosecutions have filed notices to abide by the High Court ruling," said Louis in statement.
He said the speaker of the national assembly as well as the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces had not filed an intention to oppose the motion.
Glenister argued that the disbanding of the unit would "not be rationally connected to a legitimate governmental purpose."
"The respondents' had 15 business days from 27 March to file their answering affidavit; ten days thereafter, Glenister's legal team will file replying affidavits," said Louis.
The application is set down for hearing on May 6 and Glenister is expected to introduce evidence for the application in the form of a petition.
The public was signing petition number 39 on www.mypetition.co.za while others were SMSsing the word "Keep" and their full names to register their protest on 31970.
The Scorpions have come under fire for their investigation into the affairs of ANC president Jacob Zuma.
The party set a June deadline for the crime-busting unit to be disbanded.
Safety and security spokesman Trevor Bloem said: "His lawyers were informed on March 26 that his application will be opposed by government."
DON'T YOU FIND IT PERCULIAR FOR A 'GOUVERNMENT" TO TRY TO DISBAND A ELEMENT THEY THEMSELVES CREATED- SO QUICKLY? tHIS LOT OF CORRUPT ANC CRITTERS ARE NOW FIGHTING TO SAVE THEIR DUBIOUS CORRUPT SKINS.
Scorpions' disbanding 'to protect the ANC'
But the ANC has dismissed Zille's claims as "tired allegations that she's said over and over" and says the real reasons for the elite crime-busting unit's demise were clearly spelled out in the resolution taken at its Polokwane conference in December.
Speaking at Wits University on Thursday night, Zille pointed out that there were seven convicted criminals on the ANC's National Executive Committee and six NEC members were currently the subject of criminal investigations.
"At least two of these, Ngoako Ramathlodi and Thaba Mufamadi, are currently being investigated by the Scorpions for alleged corruption," her speech notes state.
"Furthermore, there is every chance that the dismantling of the Scorpions and the rush to do so before June is an indication of a greater cover-up in the ANC.
"It is often said that Zuma and Shaik are only the tip of the Arms Deal iceberg is it wildly unrealistic to speculate that the ANC is closing down the Scorpions to block any further investigation into the Arms Deal, just as it neutered the Standing Committee on Public Accounts?
"Is it absurd to suggest that the ANC could be blocking the Scorpions to prevent another major corruption scandal from emerging into the public domain?"
Her remarks come as an online petition headed "SOS Save Our Scorpions!" is being circulated.
By 4.30pm on Thursday, 3 335 people had signed it.
In her lecture part of the university's "Platform for Public Deliberations" speaker series Zille said some people argued that restructuring the Scorpions was merely about improving efficiency.
"The problem is that neither the ANC nor the government has given any solid reasons that the dissolution of the Scorpions is in the public interest," her speech notes state.
"In light of this, one is left to surmise the real motives behind the move and the ANC's fervour to do it so quickly."
Zille said she was clear in her own mind that, by disbanding the Scorpions, the ANC was undermining the fight against criminals to protect the criminals in its own ranks.
"The disbanding of the Scorpions is certainly not about enhancing the fight against crime. Every single argument that the ANC has put forward for the dissolution of the Scorpions can be refuted on the grounds that the Scorpions have been incredibly successful in prosecuting high priority crime."
Also, the Scorpions provided an essential check on rampant police corruption the key reason cited by President Mbeki for the unit's establishment in 1999.
"Would National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi be facing corruption charges if the Scorpions had been part of the SA Police Service?
"It is highly doubtful he would have been aware of the investigation from the outset and would have moved to block it."
Zille also said President Mbeki "... has clearly been overruled by his ANC bosses" on the Scorpions.
Asked to comment, ANC spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said Zille kept repeating the same allegations, regardless of their "numerous attempts" to set the record straight.
"Unfortunately we can't help her if she continues to ignore the reasons (for disbanding the Scorpions) that are stated unambiguously in our (Polokwane) resolution.
"Our reasons are very clear we've said them over and over again. There's very little we can do to assist her".
Scorpions: Is Mbeki covering-up?
In a letter faxed to the Democratic Alliance on Wednesday night, Mbeki's office refused the DA's request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act for access to the report.
In the letter, deputy information officer in the Presidency Sibongile Sigodi, said the Act allowed for a request to be refused if disclosure "will cause prejudice to the defence, security and international relations of the Republic".
Mbeki intended to release the report at "an appropriate time without compromising the defence, security and international relations of the Republic", she said.
DA leader Helen Zille had refused Sigodi's request on Tuesday for an extension of the 30-day deadline to comply with the DA's application - lodged on February 25 - to give Mbeki an opportunity to consider the matter before releasing the report.
"You have indicated your objection to such an extension. We are accordingly obligated to refuse, as we hereby do, access to the said record," Sigodi said.
On Thursday, Zille said the DA had lodged an appeal in terms of the Act "in an attempt to force the president to release the full Khampepe Commission report."
"Invoking threats to national security smacks of a cover-up," she said.
The terms of reference for the Khampepe Commission were simply to look into the mandate and location of the Scorpions.
"I fail to see how releasing a report of this nature constitutes a threat to national security.
"The president's refusal to release the report is clearly motivated by internal party political pressures.
"We know that the president, judging from his Cabinet's endorsement of the Khampepe Commission's report, as well as comments that he has made directly to me, is against the dissolution of the Scorpions.
"The president also promised in parliament on March 6 this year that the Khampepe report will be made public," Zille said.
Mbeki was obviously "buckling under pressure" from ANC President Jacob Zuma's "faction" to keep the report out of the public domain before legislation to disband the Scorpions came before the National Assembly.
It was this faction of the ruling party that had set the June 1 deadline to disband the unit and was working to rush the bill through parliament, despite massive public opposition to the dissolution of the Scorpions.
"By refusing to release the Khampepe Commission report, the president has again shown that he is a lame duck.
"He is powerless to make good on a promise to the South African people because of the internal battle raging in the ANC," she said.
It was in the public interest that the full report be released without delay.
MPs and the public should be armed with the full facts before the legislative process to decide the future of the Scorpions got underway in the next few weeks.
Zille said if the DA's appeal was rejected and Mbeki refused to release the report, the party would consider taking legal action to obtain the report. - Sapa