Ruling on independence of Hawks expected

The ConCourt will rule on whether amendments to legislation ensures the independence of the Hawks.

Hawks. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - It's now up to the Constitutional Court to rule on whether amendments to legislation went far enough to ensure the independence of the Hawks and that the unit is free from political interference.

The Helen Suzman Foundation and businessman Hugh Glenister argued on Tuesday, to have an earlier High Court order approved.

The Western Cape High Court ruled in December that sections of an amendment bill were inconsistent with the Constitution but the government wants to appeal that order.

Advocate David Unterhalter, arguing for the Helen Suzman Foundation, says the police minister's powers over the head of the Hawks were too broad and open to abuse.

He says an exercise of power without proper review is dangerous, adding that a process located in Parliament would guarantee a greater degree of oversight.

But advocate Kemp J Kemp for President Jacob Zuma says there are sufficient provisions in the amendment act curtailing such power.

He says the minister could only dismiss the head of the unit pending an inquiry chaired by a judge.