Businessman Hugh Glenister, on Saturday 29th September 2012, at an awards ceremony in Cape Town, honoured university students and civil society groups for their work in developing best practice implementations of the Constitutional Court’s ‘Glenister judgement’ pertaining to national anti-corruption unit, the Hawks.
The competition, titled ‘The Anti-Corruption Challenge’, was launched in April with the aim of stimulating thinking around how to best satisfy the judgement, and to rally civil society in Glenister’s fight against corruption.
The competition was inspired by Glenister’s long-spanning legal battle with government around South Africa’s national anti-corruption units, the Scorpions, and later, the Hawks.
Last year, Glenister won the Constitutional Court judgment which found the legislation that created the Hawks, the anti-graft unit within SAPS, unconstitutional on the grounds that it lacked sufficient independence, both operationally and structurally, to enable it to properly fight corruption.
The Court ordered government to remedy the legislation, allowing a period of 18 months to do so. The competition was launched around the time that the SAPS Amendment Bill was up for debate with the parliamentary Committee on Policing earlier this year.
Glenister extended the competition to all Southern Africans, personally sponsoring R300 000 worth of prizes for the winning entries.
Entrants were to submit their best practice implementation of the judgement that they felt would provide South Africa with a best-of-breed unit able to carry out investigations into corruption without political interference.
Entries to “The Challenge” were judged by a panel of retired judges, including Johann Kriegler – a former Constitutional Court and Appeal Court judge.
Liezl Munnik and Nicolette Louw from the School of Public Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch took first place in the university teams category and won R60000 to share, five Samsung Galaxy tablets and R50000 for their faculty.
Fritz Jooste, Gregory Solik and Zenande Booi from Ndifuna Ukwazi, a non-profit organisation, came first in the non-university category, winning five Samsung Galaxy tablets and R40000 to share.
Munnik and Louw took four months to complete their submission. Munnik said the pair decided to call their anti-corruption body, which should replace the Hawks, the Directorate of National Integrity.
“A strong element in our submission is education. As the youth, we felt that we must get this right from the bottom up. We feel that, by simply legislating the corruption problem won’t just make it go away,” said Munnik.
“We also placed emphasis on using current resources. That is why we proposed using the structure of the public protector. Our body will run parallel to, but not under the public protector.”
Munnik said what made their proposed directorate different was the limited number of bosses, adding that every one in the unit would be accountable “for their own decisions”.
Team ‘Justice League’ from Rhodes University Law faculty and team ‘Phoenix’ from Rhodes University Humanities faculty were chosen as joint runners up.
One of the runners-up Kyla Hazell said her team proposed that a new anti-corruption body should be a chapter 9 institution.
The team decided to bring in some of the models used by the Hong Kong anti-corruption unit – the oldest in the world.
Hazell said the unit tried to fight corruption in three ways – rooting it out, prosecuting it and educating every one about it, even at primary school level.
“Third, they ensure that members of the public are aware of the work that they have done and by doing that, they build confidence in the unit,” said Hazell. Their proposed name for the unit is Phoenix as it “comes from the ashes [and] is reborn from something that was previously destroyed”.
The winners of the non-university category – Fritz Jooste, Gregory Solik and Zenande Booi from the non-profit organisation Ndifuna Ukwazi (“Dare to Know”) in Cape Town – proposed to replace the Hawks with a body named the South African Anti-Corruption Unit.
Jooste said he was tasked with looking at the history of corruption in South Africa before and after 1994. It was then up to Booi to draft legislation based on his findings.
Booi said she was also guided by the “Glenister judgment” and what exactly the Constitutional Court found to be weaknesses in the legislation. “The body could be a chapter nine institution or one could use principles used to establish chapter nine institutions as one of the guides to establish this body.”
Winning submissions will be sent to the President of South Africa, the NCOP and the parliamentary committee on policing.
Despite suggestions from a variety of civil society groups to amend the legislation by placing the Hawks outside of the national police service, the SAPS Amendment Bill underwent minor cosmetic changes before it was approved, unchanged, by the National Assembly, National Council of Provinces and the president.
Glenister is preparing to return to court as he feels that government failed to follow the Court’s ruling in remedying the legislation and to provide the country with a unit capable of fighting corruption in all levels of society.
“I think that government will find the winning submissions particularly useful if they are made to return to the drawing board on this legislation,” says Glenister.