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'The Scorpions are not back' - Ramaphosa

Responding to debate on his Sona, the president says the Scorpions are not back and they are merely setting up a special unit within the prosecuting body as allowed by the NPA Act.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announces Shamila Batohi as the new NPA head at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 4 December 2018. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured MPs that a new corruption-busting unit within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is not the return of the Scorpions.

Responding to debate on his State of the Nation Address (Sona), Ramaphosa says the Scorpions are not back and they are merely setting up a special unit within the prosecuting body as allowed by the NPA Act.

Ramaphosa: Govt is working to stop load shedding

In his Sona, the president said he had agreed with the new National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi that a new investigating directorate would be set up to tackle serious corruption.

This was viewed by some as a return of the elite crime-fighting unit, the Scorpions. But Ramaphosa was quick to dismiss the perception in his reply to Members of Parliament.

“In the end, I wish to make it quite clear for those, as I dealt with the issue of the NPA, who said the Scorpions are back. The Scorpions are not back, we are setting up as allowed by the NPA Act a special investigating unit.”

The Scorpions were disbanded following a 2007 African National Congress resolution to do away the unit.

Ramaphosa has also touched on plans to crack down on the misuse of public funds through the signing into law of the Public Audit Amendment Act, which will give the auditor general greater powers.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)

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