At an awards ceremony in Cape Town on Saturday, Hugh Glenister 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.
“Corruption affects every one of us, and what we don’t realise is that we, as ordinary citizens, have the power to put a stop to it,” says Glenister, “I am so encouraged to see young South Africans discovering this ability to affect change.”
The competition, titled ‘The 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.
Winners were chosen from two categories: university teams and non-university teams.
First place in the university category went to Liezl Munnik and Nicolette Louw from the School of Public Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch.
Team ‘Justice League’ from Rhodes University Law faculty and team ‘Phoenix’ from Rhodes University Humanities faculty were chosen as joint runners up.
In the non-university category, the winning submission came from Fritz Jooste, Gregory Solik and Zenande Booi of the social justice coalition, Ndifuna Ukwazi.
In addition to the prizes received at the awards ceremony, all 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.