South Africa 16.9.2013 01:56 pm

Parliament must answer in Hawks case – Mthethwa lawyers

FILE PICTURE: The Minister of Arts and Culture Mr Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: Ayi Leshabane

FILE PICTURE: The Minister of Arts and Culture Mr Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: Ayi Leshabane

Parliament must explain the Hawks legislation to the Western Cape High Court, it heard.

Michael Donen SC, for Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, said that as Parliament had drawn up the SA Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Act, which was being challenged, it was the “main culprit” and should be present to defend itself.

“Parliament… consisting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, has a direct and substantial interest in the matter,” Donen said.

Kemp J Kemp, for President Jacob Zuma, also a respondent in the case, did not agree with Donen.

He said the government, and not Parliament, had been ordered to draw up the legislation in response to a Constitutional Court ruling, which found fault with parts of the decision to replace the now disbanded Scorpions with the Hawks.

Earlier, Kemp said there was no threat that the Hawks would be subject to political interference, as was argued by businessman Hugh Glenister and the Helen Suzman Foundation — the applicants in the matter.

They argue that the SAPS Amendment Act, which was passed by Parliament last year, does not sufficiently insulate the Hawks from political interference.

The act gives the police minister the power to suspend the head of the directorate of priority crime investigations, more commonly known as the Hawks.

The minister can also dismiss the Hawks’ chief after an inquiry headed by a retired judge.

Kemp rejected this argument on Monday.

“We don’t support the notion that, because the minister has these powers, that the head [of the Hawks] is in imminent threat of improper removal,” he told the court.

-Sapa 

 

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