Two SPL associates win competition for restructuring of Hawks
“We are ecstatic that the judges considered our work worthy enough to choose us as winners. It is an honour to be counted among the top thinkers in the anti-corruption field in South Africa.”
This was the reaction of Ms Liezl Munnik over the weekend after she and her colleague, Ms Nicolette Louw, heard that they had won a nationwide competition for restructuring the police’s directorate for priority crimes, the Hawks.
Munnik and Louw are associates of the School for Public Leadership (SPL) at Stellenbosch University (SU). The competition was sponsored by Hugh Glenister, businessman and anti-corruption activist, as part of his on-going battle around legislation pertaining to the Hawks.
Glenister invited South Africans under the age of 30 to construct a framework to restructure the Hawks. Louw and Munnik accepted the challenge under the leadership of Erwin Schwella, professor in Public Leadership at the SPL.
“The work of Louw and Munnik is of an exceptionally high standard. We are proud of our association with them. Their work clearly shows that they are highly committed and analytical,” Schwella said.
Munnik, who is a risk analyst at auditing and consultation firm Deloitte, is a law graduate of SU closely involved with the SPL’s Anti-corruption Centre for Education and Research (ACCERUS). Louw, who lives in France, did research for the SPL.
“Nicolette and I met earlier in the year at the Winelands Conference and she asked me to work with her on this project,” said Munnik.
“We had previously worked independently but we saw the competition as a great opportunity to combine our ideas on how to address corruption.”
According to Adv Paul Hoffman, head of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa (IFAISA) and legal representative of Glenister, four teams out of the 50 that had entered the competition were chosen as finalists. Besides the SU team, the other finalists were two teams from Rhodes and the fourth was from Ndifuna Ukwazi, an organisation that under the leadership of Aids activist Zackie Achmat works for an open and transparent democracy.
Hoffman considers the SA Police Service Amendment Bill recently signed off by Pres Jacob Zuma to be unconstitutional. The Hawks are regulated in terms of this piece of legislation. According to Hoffman, Section 207 (2) of the Constitution determines that the head of the police manages and controls the police. However, the new Bill gazetted on 14 September determines that the head of the Hawks have powers that supersedes those of the Commissioner of Police.
Hoffman also argues that an anti-corruption unit should be more independent and should operate outside of the police.
“The Hawks are doing good work in combatting rhinoceros poaching and human trafficking, but we need a specialised unit that focuses on corruption alone. The Hawks’ mandate is very wide and this means that investigations into corruption are often moved to the back burner.”
The competition was launched to promote public interest in anti-corruption measures, says Hoffman.
“We received 50 entries of which many came from individuals from outside academia. It is clear the fight against corruption is of interest to all South Africans.”
With their winning entry Munnik and Louw won R60 000 for themselves and R50 000 for their faculty. The other teams were awarded R30 000 for themselves and R25 000 for their faculty or organisation. Each team also received five Samsung Galaxy tablet computers.
Three retired judges were the judges – Johann Kriegler, Ian Farlam and Wilfred Thring. – STEPHANIE NIEUWOUDT