Friday, January 30, 2009

A dark day in our short democratic history

Opposition concern over Scorpions Bill

President Kgalema Motlanthe’s decision to enact the legislation disbanding the Scorpions marks a dark day in South Africa’s democracy, opposition parties said today.

Motlanthe’s decision would have lasting ramifications for the rule of law, judicial independence and the effectiveness of crime fighting institutions in South Africa," DA spokeswoman Dianne Kohler-Barnard said.

"This decision, taken in complete defiance of public opinion, marks a dark day in our short democratic history," she said. The presidency confirmed earlier today that Motlanthe had approved the two bills. Spokesman Thabo Masebe said the president had approved the SA Police Service Amendment Bill and the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill.

Kohler-Barnard said it was as clear as day that this decision had been taken for reasons of political expediency, in a bid to save the careers of corrupt ANC politicians in government, and to advance the closed patronage society that ANC president Jacob Zuma and his allies "seem so intent on building".

"The President’s decision to disband South Africa’s most successful crime fighting unit will, in the years to come, be remembered as a defining moment for the ANC," she said.

No ANC politician or business crony would ever again be investigated now that this unit, which served without fear or favour, had been destroyed. "With reports now circulating that Jacob Zuma’s former lawyer is in line to become the new Director of Public Prosecutions, it is quite clear that the rule of law is facing an unprecedented attack," Kohler-Barnard said. Velaphi Ndlovu of the Inkatha Freedom Party, said the move once again showed the extent to which the ANC would go to push its own agenda, against the wishes of most South Africans.

"From the start, the disbandment of this elite unit has had very little to do with bolstering our fight against crime, and everything to do with a political vendetta against them," he said.

The ANC was guilty of abusing power and undermining democracy. "In spite of all the ruling party’s talk about democracy, our Republic is at risk, as the ANC continues to fail in separating its own interests from those of the state. "It attacks the judiciary when it pleases, abuses the state broadcaster for its own purposes, and for a decade now has filled our front pages with endless stories of scandal and corruption.

"If not stopped now, this degeneration will have gone too far to redress," Ndlovu said.

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