Mthethwa's 'practical' power questioned

Hugh Glenister & Helen Suzman Foundation brought court action against the Police Amendment Act.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announces the latest crime statistics at Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday, 20 September 2012. Picture: GCIS/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma's Advocate Kemp J Kemp said on Monday the fact that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has been given 'practical' powers over the Hawks doesn't mean there is a threat of political interference.

Kemp was arguing in the Western Cape High Court in a case brought on by businessman Hugh Glenister and the Helen Suzman Foundation over the South African Police Service (SAPS) Amendment Act.

Parliament was previously ordered to change the legislation after Glenister's victory in the Constitutional Court following the disbanding of the Scorpions.

Glenister's attorney Madri Du Plessis said the legislation does not do enough to insulate the Hawks from political interference.

"We're saying they're still not independent enough. The minister still has quite a lot of control over the kind of crimes that the Hawks can investigate."