Government mulls revival of Scorpions-like agency

As allegations of Covid-19 malfeasance pile on existing cases of corruption.
For now, says Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, law enforcement agencies ‘have been freed’ to do their job without fear. Image: Jairus Mmutle, GCIS

The recently established ‘fusion centre’ created to prevent, investigate and prosecute Covid-19 corruption through various law enforcement agencies, may signal the nascent revival of the Scorpions – the elite corruption-busting unit that was disbanded in 2008. 

“It is clear that as a country we need a permanent structure like the fusion centre,” Justice Minister Ronald Lamola told journalists in a post-cabinet meeting briefing on Thursday.

The comments come amid mounting public scepticism, as government is at pains to demonstrate to citizens that it’s doing everything in its power to counter corruption related to public resources set aside for the state’s Covid-19 response.

Multi-pronged response

The latest tool in the state’s efforts to create greater transparency and accountability regarding the use of Covid-19 funds, is the appointment of a ministerial committee chaired by Lamola that will look into all Covid-19 procurement contracts. The committee will receive a list of all contracts that were awarded during the national state of disaster, with the intention of creating a report that will be published. 

On Wednesday night Finance Minister Tito Mboweni together with Treasury director-general Dondo Mogajane briefed Parliament on the various interventions Treasury is putting in place to tighten Covid-19 procurement procedures. 

Read: Ramaphosa appoints ministerial task team to tackle Covid-19 corruption

These include ending emergency procurement for the supply of Covid-19 goods and services, including personal protective equipment (PPE); and the development of a preventative controls framework by Treasury and Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu that will act as a toolkit for accounting officers with step-by-step instructions on how to implement proper procurement procedures. 

Prior to that, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the formation of a “fusion centre” to catch the “hyenas” circling around food parcels meant for the poor, Covid-19 wage subsidies, social relief grants and the procurement of PPE and other medical supplies.

The centre consists of the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the National Prosecuting Authority, the South African Police Service’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks), the Crime Intelligence and Detective Service, the South African Revenue Service, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the State Security Agency. 


“That fusion centre should be allowed to grow organically,” said Lamola.

“We are looking at legislation to ensure that that fusion centre has a home in terms of a legislative framework that will allow it to do its job with a clear central command and also with it acting independently without any interference from anyone.” 

Read: Fighting corruption: The Hawks scorecard

The Directorate of Special Operations, or the Scorpions, operated in this manner prior to its disbandment in 2008, following a resolution adopted at the ANC’s Polokwane conference in December 2007. 

The Scorpions had a conviction rate of between 80% and 90% in the investigation and prosecution of high-level cases. It was replaced by the present-day Hawks, which has faced charges of being incapacitated to deal with cases. 

Lamola said the cabinet would communicate its final decision when it is ready to do so. 

For now, Lamola made it clear that law enforcement agencies are “empowered to act without any fear or favour or prejudice to anyone” who is suspected of wrongdoing. 

To remove any suspicion, he specified that should the suspected party be a cabinet member, director-general of deputy director-general, chief executive or low ranking officials in the public or private sectors: “They [the law enforcement agencies] must do their job. They have been freed.”

“If there was any doubt that they must not do their jobs, cabinet is saying they must just do what the Constitution says.”

Lamola emphasised the point: “It is constitutionally guaranteed – no one is going to interfere ….”



Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in to comment.


How many ruling party MPs, Councillors, and or members thick up to their neck have been charged with any kind of crime? No, rewards for guessing, none. Not one. The reason for the disbanding of the Scorpion remain, that the same looting members of the party, who pillaged then, and their relatives and fellow-comrades who are emptying the coffers of the State, did not like the Scoorpions. If they did not like the Scorpions, and they are in control of the Hawks (turned in to chicks) they are not likely to adore an agency that looks like and or acts like the Scorpions. There is no way the ANC and the ruling government is going to want anybody shining a candlelight on their deeds, let alone a spotlight. So, stop wasting the peoples time with this nonsensical contradiction. Just steal as much as you like until your hearts are content and burst out out of gorging yourself with greed.

You must be careful of generalizing: you forget, or choose to forget, the three people arrested for walking their dogs during lock down, the mother and her 5-year old nabbed for being on the beach, and let us all learn from the two young men apprehended standing still during The Glorious People’s Exercise Time.
The law will out, comrade… A Giant Stirs

Let me predict that after few millions wasted, they will appoint a committee to investigate and hold hearings following which a report will be drafted for discussions at the highest levels which will then have an imbizo in order to decide to have a meeting where upon they will call for an indaba to discuss lekgotla.

There was even a ministerial committee of enquiry that thought a swimming pool was a fire pool / security feature. Makes one think about the authenticity of these commissions of enquiry.

This lot is rotten to the core.

All they are doing in “closing ranks” Heard that before????

It is a con. Just talk.

What do you expect for people that turn their own children into thieves?

What a brilliant idea.

We are going to investigate ourselves. The outcome?

No evidence of corruption at any level at all.

Makes you want to puke……………….

Thick on promises, slow to deliver? Methaphors and great spinning is seemingly the backbone of the ANC government. Starting with the main clown, Rhamapara of the ANC. Why do the news media even report on promises, lack of integrity. Is it even news worthy? Where are the Editors?

This is the ANC’s version of job creation.

Another smoke screen to hide all the other smoke screens which were put in place to hide even more smoke screens.

Excuse me if I dont hold my breath waiting for these great promises of action. The day one of the senior porky’s at the corruption trough are convicted and jailed I will start to believe.

Nice idea. A top job for some ANC cadre, scooping a nice salary while he puts the brakes on on investigations.

Hawks was the replacement of Scorpions. Does this mean that we will have a group of incompetent, captured people earning high salaries named Hawks plus another new group that would be sold as different group and saviors doing one and the same job?
We have seen that ANC is hopeless, their solutions are not well thought of and they never yield any good results! ANC like bandage solutions, the rot stay , grow and smell worse.

Canaries to replace the Hawks.

The answer does not always involve throwing more money, more people and or certainly not more politics to solve the problem.

I’ve made a career out of scrubbing administration systems, rationalising employee tasks and setting up workflows that run the business administration efficiently. In fact yesterday in a meeting with the Commercial Director of our organisation I stated that “If an investigation reveals that Administration is the reason for the business failed to meet its target then you have a serious problem, you have two choices: 1 fix it which will be painful as we are fundamentally changing the way people have been working and there is a fair chance of unpalatable decisions that will arise or 2 close the department which means firing everyone.”
When I am told to fix the admin my plan generally has a timeline of 24 months per 5,000 employees of which 80% of the admin will end up leaving or being terminated.

I am of the professional view that it would take 120 months to fix the Administration Catastrophe which the anc has caused.

The only way that the anc and it’s voters are surviving is by drinking and when they sober up they drink some more.

With all the current groups SA has grown to be one of the Capital city of crime. All crimes are growing at an exponential rate is SA, Illicit cigarettes and alcohol, illegal mining ( Zama Zamas), Murder of different kinds , copper or scrapyard metals vandalism, stealing and selling( road signs, mainholes, bridges metals and others), Rhino horns killings, illegal fishing in Capetown and people being threatened, cash in transit heists, Mall robberies ( never heard or seen a country with as much successful mall robberies as SA Now we have also a great increase in vandalism and stealing of diesel ( where is this diesel going to?), Cellphone towers are also not safe people steal everything inside , I wonder where they use them, the batteries, routers, diesel and other staff found inside and outside these towers.

We need to work intelligently and honestly with the resources that we have. We can’t keep on complaining about resource shortages but the ones that we have yield no positive, small incremental results!

Collectivism: 1.Rights are derived from the State. 2. The emphasis is on the group as opposed to the individual. 3. Coercion is the preferred method to bring about reform. 4. Laws should be applied differently to different classes. 5. Redistribution of wealth – or providing benefits is the proper role of Government.

The ANC is a collectivist organisation. That means we have a collectivist, communist, to be more specific, government. All collectivist organisations incentivise the most unscrupulous members of the community to exploit the rest at a maximal rate, while it punishes ethical behaviour patterns that could benefit the group. The most unprincipled members of society are rewarded by the “collective” and put in positions of power where they can exploit the rest for their personal gain while the cost of the exploitation is borne by the community.

The collectivist system puts immense pressure on those who are in positions of power, to plunder the resources at an ever-increasing rate. They have to steal the means of production before the next guy steals it. Positions of power develop into a feeding frenzy. The rate of competition increases as resources becomes scarcer. Cadres fight cadres, comrades betray comrades, government officials betray and backstab each other as the economy implodes and the looters are concentrated on an ever-shrinking pie. This system brings about an amazing show of innovation, but unlike in the free-market system, the innovation does not benefit the consumers. To the contrary, all the innovation in a collectivist organisation is focused on developing new ways to loot and plunder the common resource, to steal from the consumer. The Zondo Commission describes this process.

When the collective realises that the system does not deliver what it promised, those who hold the power to loot have to create distractions and smokescreens by proposing false attempts to stop the plunder by appointing disciplined cadres over whom they have full control to do the investigations. This is nothing more than an attempt to prolong the feeding frenzy. The voter who is naive and ignorant enough to support collectivism is also naive and ignorant enough to believe this farce. And so the plunder continues until the state fails and people starve as a collective.

Corruption, looting and a failed state are an inherent part of collectivism. If society does not want to suffer under corruption they have to select free-market capitalist policies.

How many teams of anti-corruption units does a country need? We now have six already. And guess who is on the anti-corruption committee? All ANC cadres who will protect their mates. Quelle surprise! Another smoke screen instigated by Ramaphosa and expecting SA to believe them. And the majority South Africans will unfortunately…18 million SASSA recipients cant be wrong.

South Africans will view this with great cynicism and rightly so. How many times haven’t we been promised this and that action with regards to corruption and yet the same old status quo persists.

Voters had the chance to punish the ANC at the last election to send a message and failed to do so. They took that as a sign that they could do whatever they wanted and their support would remain undiminished. Now we are suffering the consequences.

Yes, you are right Dr Gonzo. We clearly remember the ‘fire pool authenticated by that team of ministerial experts.

In order for any law enforcement agency to be effective it needs to have personnel with a reasonable level of integrity and honesty. Where will government find such cadres?

The word “mull” is quite annoying. It signifies lack of conviction, purpose and a waste of time.

The “new scorpions” is just a diversionary tactic to take the attention away from the current corruption of Covid 19 funds.

“Diversionary tactics” also has an element of dishonesty, like the corruption they are trying to hide. The dishonesty just does not end.

A new buzz word …… a FUSION CENTER. This in addition to a WAR ROOM and a NATIONAL COMMAND CENTER.
The Gangster State can really coin the terms!!!
Of course ….and then nothing happened.

Do it and appoint Vusi Pikoli as its head. I dare you! Since 85% of the ANC will end up in jail.

End of comments.





Follow us:

Search Articles:Advanced Search
Click a Company: