Wyndham Hartley

Parliamentary Editor

CAPE TOWN — Opponents of the disbanding of the crime-fighting Scorpions unit will enter today’s public hearings in Parliament with little chance of success. Refining the legislation is their only option.

 

Maggie Sotyu, chairwoman of Parliament’s safety and security committee, and justice committee chairman Yunus Carrim drew criticism last week when they questioned public opposition to the scrapping of the unit.

Sotyu said the committees were there to implement decisions taken at the African National Congress’ Polokwane conference.

Four civil society organisations said yesterday they would hold a news conference today on why they believed public participation in the parliamentary process was under threat.

These organisations are the Helen Suzman Foundation, the Institute for Democracy in SA, the Institute for Security Studies and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.

In a joint sitting this morning, the two parliamentary committees will start hearing submissions on the South African Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Bill and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Amendment Bill.

The SAPS amendment bill sets out how the Scorpions will be amalgamated with the police’s organised crime unit.

The NPA bill expunges all references to the directorate of special operations contained in the NPA a ct.

The hearings will include submissions from departments on the criminal justice system, as well as on the NPA and SAPS amendment b ills.

After lunch there will be an NPA submission followed by Business Against Crime with what is expected to be the first nongovernmental organisation submission. This will be followed by the Society for State Advocates and the Cape Bar Council.

At 4pm, Hugh Glenister, the Johannesburg businessman who at his own expense mounted a high court challenge to the decision to scrap the Scorpions, will be heard.

Glenister will be followed by the South African Communist Party.

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