LETTER: From Hawks to Eagles, justice system must prove it’s a turkey no more

by | Feb 14, 2024 | Chapter 9, General, Glenister Case | 0 comments

As the dust settles after the mighty clash between Bafana Bafana and the Super Eagles, a few reflections on the use of nicknames seem apposite.

Almost every reader of the first line of this letter will understand the reference to a football match between the national teams of SA and Nigeria, without any reference to football or either country. That is the utility of nicknames.

In SA, the use of nicknames for institutions is a well-established practice. The word “Springboks” conjures up triumphant rugby players who have won the World Cup for SA twice in succession. Banyana Banyana is the nickname of our national female soccer team.

The public service also likes nicknames. Who can forget the all-conquering Scorpions, whose work saw a commissioner of police, a chief whip of the ANC and even former president Jacob Zuma’s personal financial adviser, knocked out of public life with jail time for corrupt activities?

The Scorpions were replaced by the Hawks because the Scorpions took too much interest in prosecuting dodgy ANC politicians, even those involved in the Travelgate saga. The latter, with their “smallanyana” skeletons, got their revenge when the Scorpions were dissolved the moment the Zuma team took power.

The Hawks have not been a success. Today nobody even suggests they are up to the task of countering serious corruption. It is time they were replaced by a more independent, effective and efficient entity. It too will need a nickname, to distinguish it from its predecessor.

The National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council will be reporting on much-needed reform before the end of February. The new entity, if it measures up to the specifications already laid down by the Constitutional Court in the Glenister litigation, should be called the Eagles, which fly higher, see further and go after bigger prey than the Hawks have ever imagined.

Readers should be sure to vote for a party or independent candidate supportive of the notion of establishing the Eagles. They are needed to clean up our national act by getting the corrupt into orange overalls and their loot restored to the people.

Paul Hoffman, SC
Director, Accountability Now

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