|SUBMISSION BY THEMBA LANGA: SENIOR PARTNER: LANGA ATTORNEYS JOHANNESBURG
DISBANDMENT OF THE SCORPIONS
It is a coincidence that the future of the Scorpions is discussed at the same time as the global financial markets observe the first anniversary of the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. The financial crisis has its origins in the bursting of the internet bubble in late 2000 which is the same time that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) started their ill-fated investigation on Jacob Zuma.
Just like with the financial markets distress, the Scorpions' conduct has pervaded the entire South African Society and it has adversely affected each and every sector of our society but without the high levels of organised crime abating. Notwithstanding their commitment to do well with a reasonable measure of a fierce public profile, the truth is that their investigations of select politicians has damaged the image of this country as they pursued a R10.00 (ten rands) car wash invoice and at the same time bequeathed widespread disruption of our society. Recently the Scorpions' conduct has assumed a significant economic impact as rating agencies have noted that the Republic's rule of law may be of concern as the political and legal uncertainties are likely to remain unresolved for an extended period of time as a result of the NPA's unsavoury investigation of Mr. Zuma.
Despite our optimism that the war against crime would be won, however, we have to worry about the "destabilisation" that the Scorpions is causing as it inherently creates more difficulties because the interdependency with the community and other stakeholders that is required to fight crime cannot be achieved as the Scorpions have proved repeatedly that they are a crime fighting machinery with an apartheid insight.
The dichotomy of public opinion on the future of the Scorpions has uncomfortably divided the South African Society substantially along racial lines and this illustrates the need for parliament to intervene by disbanding the Scorpions so as to fulfill its democratic mandate to ensure that state institutions serve the full range of South Africans in a non-racial manner. There is abundant evidence that the Scorpions' conduct has increased political risks and constraints for South Africa and it is also clear that the continued existence of the Scorpions would disadvantage the country economically as the NPA would stop at nothing to destroy the fragile political and economic situation including failing to balance the benefits and costs of their relentless pursuit of Mr. Zuma as we have seen with the shifting of the goal posts from arms deal charges to tax racketeering charges.
It would definitely be irresponsible and reckless for parliament not to respond by disbanding the Scorpions when there is growing evidence that their continued existence plays a self-reinforcing role as a source of destruction that never fails to compromise every sector of the society as recently evidenced by the untenable position which the judiciary finds itself.
The disbandment of the Scorpions is not an option but an imperative that we have to adhere to if we have to save our country from ruin as the Scorpions is not legitimately entitled to dispassionately destroy the future of this country while they merrily leave organised crime to its operators and pursue nebulous and self contracted charges through their powerful mechanism's of search and seizure of privileged attorneys documents.
Not to disband the Scorpions is tantamount to fail to respond to global warming, which is caused by man-made "greenhouse" gas emissions, when it is already clear that the costs of climate change are significant and it is certain that the "greenhouse effect" would deprive human life, on earth, of existence. Similarly, the Scorpions existence emits toxic political and economical concentrations that increasingly indicate that the Scorpions seems to be interested to intensify the political climate and trigger a hugely detrimental political outcome. Therefore, the difficult challenge indeed is not the reduction of crime particularly organised crime as that is achievable, but is to ensure that such goals are achieved as cost-efficient as possible. To do that a range of policies are required which will compensate for the failure of the Scorpions to combat organised crime, better government funding for the SAPS is essential and the identification of alternative mechanisms to complement the law enforcement agencies as well as to increase support for community policing forums.
The disbandment of the Scorpions would prove that the government is attentive to the voices of the vast majority of South Africans and the government's commitment to reduce poverty and unemployment could be mitigated by economic growth and multiplication of resources and capabilities to combat crime and corruption. At the moment the Scorpions' tendencies of disproportionately investing enormous resources to relentlessly investigate Mr. Zuma erodes its capability to provide an improved economic environment which would increase productivity and enhance South Africa's attractiveness as an investment destination for foreign investors.
It is a fallacy that the disbandment of the Scorpions into the SAPS would undermine the State's capability to combat crime and corruption as the constitutional flaws of the existence of the Scorpions within the NPA has already created a legal quadmire. It is legally correct to seek to locate the capabilities of the Scorpions within the SAPS and it remains a valid conclusion that the expansion of the SAPS capabilities and resources, with the inclusion of the Scorpions, would produce positive results.
SENIOR PARTNER: LANGA ATTORNEYS JOHANNESBURG