[JURIST] South African Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula [official profile] on Tuesday introduced in parliament a proposal to dissolve the Directorate of Special Investigations [official backgrounder; BBC report], also known as "The Scorpions," a special agency in South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) [official website] that has been in charge of investigating organized crime and corruption since 1999. Opponents of Nqakula's proposal say that the ruling African National Congress (ANC) [party website] is seeking to protect its members after the NPA initiated investigations into several party leaders. Under the proposal, the agency would be disbanded by the summer and all investigatory duties handed over to the police force.
In December, the NPA indicted [JURIST report] politician Jacob Zuma [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], charging him with corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering, after an investigation headed by the Scorpions. Zuma was elected leader of the ANC in December and is slated to become the country's next president. Zuma's supporters have dismissed the charges [JURIST report] as politically motivated. BBC News has more.