Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

Crackdown on the Scorpions

In Africa, Journalism on October 13, 2005 at 6:17 am

South Africa’s Scorpions, whom I’ve called a modern-day Untouchables, are starting to feel the heat. The Directorate of Special Investigations, as they are officially known, have investigated high-level alleged criminals, such as Deputy President Jacob Zuma and 54 parliamentarians. They enjoy broad support in South Africa. Now, according to Commentary, governmental officials are trying to eviscerate the directorate by placing them under the authority of the much more politically-vulnerable police.

No good deed goes unpunished, especially in South African law
enforcement. Here’s Brigitte Mabandla, Minister of Justice, attempting to
explain why one of the country’s most effective law enforcement agencies needs
to be shut down “reintegrated with the police”, as paraphrased
by the Sunday Independent:

She said that there had been “a real decline in the
level of some of the serious crimes that have caused public fear and
anxiety…”. “It is my submission that the threat from serious crimes, whilst
still requiring attention, has significantly diminished to the extent that it is
now opportune to reconsider the location of the DSO.”

…Everyone knows that the current effort to bury the Scorpions inside
the restrictive bureaucracy of the SAPS has very little to do with the crime
rate or the government’s new-found reverence for the constitution, which might
have been more believable had they discovered it before they introduced
floor-crossing legislation. The truth is that the Scorpions were just getting
too uppity. If only they’d stuck to busting crack lords, none of this would be
happening. Instead, the got this wacky idea that rule of law applies to the
government as well as the citizens, and started taking down corrupt politicians.
Well, I guess this is payback time for the pols. That’ll teach the Scorpions to
bite the hand that feeds them.

Hopefully, those with an interest in a safe South Africa (safe from its politicians as well as from its pushers), will keep this from happening. The Scorpions are one of Africa’s success stories.

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