Joint media statement: SAPS Amendment Bill
Institute for Security Studies
Open Society Foundation
24 April 2012
In order for government to comply with the Constitutional Court judgement in the Glenister case, parliament needs to draft legislation that would ensure that South Africa’s anti-corruption body (currently the Hawks) is protected from political interference and influence. It is the duty of the government and all organs of state to respect the independence of the anti-corruption body and to assist and protect it to ensure its impartiality and effectiveness.
We encourage parliament to ensure that the new law meets the following requirements for the anti-corruption body:
- Independence: The body must in fact be independent, and be seen by the public to be independent. This means that the unit cannot be located within the SAPS.
- Mandate and authority: The mandate of the body must be clearly defined in legislation, and must explicitly include corruption and the right to initiate investigations itself.
- Selection and appointment of the head and deputy head of the body: The head of the anti-corruption body should be nominated, selected and appointed through a transparent process. It is our recommendation that a special sub-committee of parliament be established to manage the selection process. Candidates for the position should meet clear criteria in terms of skill, experience and integrity. Parliament should approve, by special majority the candidate selected by the sub-committee, whose appointment would be approved and formalized by the President.
- Removal: Likewise, removal from office should be limited to clearly defined grounds, and may follow only after an independent enquiry that produces a clear finding and recommendation to this effect, which must be endorsed by a similar special majority in Parliament.
- Budgetary control: The head of the anti-corruption unit should be required to submit the budget of the body directly to Parliament without going through the conduit of a national department. The budget should be the subject of a separate budget vote. The head of the anti-corruption body should be given an adequate opportunity to motivate and defend the budget directly before the National Treasury before final decisions on financial allocations are made.
- Arrangements for oversight and accountability of the body should ensure that it is held accountable for its performance without compromising its independence or allowing for interference in its work.
The South African public need to have confidence in the independence of the anti-corruption body. This will not be possible if politicians are able to influence the way it operates or to meddle in its investigations. Since corruption has serious consequences for all South Africans and for service delivery, we encourage parliament to ensure the best possible institution is established to investigate and counter corrupt practices at all levels of the state and in all sectors of society.
Enquiries and further comment:
Institute for Security Studies
Head: Crime and Justice Programme:
Cell: 082 887 1557
Senior researcher, Crime and Justice Programme
Cell: 083 305 4915
Cell: 083 325 4424
Open Society Foundation:
Cell: 082 2962 7504