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Khampepe full report released to the public

by Bathandwa Mbola
on 05 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The long awaited 144-page Khampepe report was made public on Monday by Director-General in The Presidency Frank Chikane.

President Thabo Mbeki appointed the Khampepe Commission of Inquiry in 2006, headed by Judge Sisi Khampepe, to review the mandate of the Directorate of Special Operations (known as the Scorpions) as well as its location.

Briefing reporters in the Union Buildings, the Director-General said the report was never intended to be released publicly and President Thabo Mbeki only took the decision to release it in February.

He said the decision was taken to release the report at the same time as the tabling of the two Bills to Parliament so that it could form part of what people based their decisions on.

"If you are dealing with bills dealing with the Directorate of Special Operations, people would want to see what is in the report rather than relying on a summarised (version)," Rev Chikane said.

He said Mbeki also had an obligation under the Intelligence Act to make sure no information in the report could compromise state security when it was made public.

The release of the report comes at the same time as the General Law Amendment Bill and the National Prosecuting Amendment Bill - dealing with the disbanding of the Scorpions - is due to be tabled in Parliament.

The two bills are set to pave the way for the formation of a new unit incorporating parts of the Scorpions and the police's Organised Crime Unit.

The report reveals that the location of the DSO is not unconstitutional, but it however noted some concerns over the size and operating methods of the unit.

The existence of the Scorpions is "as valid today as it was at conception", the report says.

"Despite indications that crime levels are dropping, it is my considered view that organised crime still presents a threat that needs to be addressed through an effective comprehensive strategy.

"The argument that the rationale no longer holds since the levels of crime are showing a decline is therefore devoid of merit.

"For this reason, it is my considered finding that the DSO still has a place in the government's law enforcement plan... it is my recommendation that the rationale for the establishment of the DSO is as valid today as it was at conception."

Although, the Khampepe report believed that the location of the Scorpions within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was constitutionally and jurisprudentially sound, it identified several areas of concern.

Some of the concerns included the coordination, vetting, oversight and issues of intelligence in the unit.

The report found that the Scorpions ignored their own vetting law, illegally gathered intelligence and even compromised state security.

The report also found that there was evidence that the Scorpions had liaisons with foreign law enforcement and intelligence structures and were acting unconstitutionally by gathering intelligence.

"This certainly will compromise the security of the state as DSO members have no requisite training in intelligence."

Furthermore, the report identified an urgent need for the Scorpions to stop publicising their investigations, as this could violate the constitutional rights of those under investigation.

"There is no plausible reason furnished for this invidious conduct on the part of the DSO, which is to be frowned on. I find such conduct to be out of kilter with our constitution," the report reads, adding it was reprehensible, unprofessional and corroded the public confidence in the law-enforcement agency.

Regarding concerns about tensions between the police and the Scorpions, the report found that the relationship between them was non-existent at national level, but this was not the case at provincial level.

The full Khampepe report is available on the government website. - BuaNews

Download and view the full KHAMPEPE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO THE MANDATE AND LOCATION OF THE DIRECTORATE OF SPECIAL OPERATIONS ("THE DSO") from the South African Government Information website (

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