Publication: Beeld Issued: Date: 2005-03-23 Reporter: Adriaan Basson Reporter: Iaine Harper

The Cobras Make Their Debut







Adriaan Basson, Iaine Harper

Web Link


Pretoria - Watch out, Scorpions, here come the Cobras.

Willie Hofmeyr's special investigation unit announced a new corporate identity during the second anti-corruption summit held in Pretoria for the past two days.

There was, however, no fanfare, balloons or fireworks - just a bronze statue of a wily cobra mounted on a slab of dark wood and posters with the unit's new logo and slogan: "Poised to strike".

The unit is an independent body reporting to the president and parliament and will be funded from the department of justice and constitutional development.

Veteran former judge Willem Heath headed the unit at first, but the constitutional court found in June 2001 that a judge may not manage a unit of this kind. Hofmeyr was appointed in July 2001.

The most-important difference between the Cobras and the Scorpions is that they make use of the civil right to fight corruption in state institutions.

The Cobras' offices were recently moved from East London to Pretoria.

The unit recouped more than R13m during its anti-corruption operation in 2004/'05 and prevented losses exceeding R370m during that time.

Hofmeyr joked on Wednesday that the unit definitely didn't want to go by the name Cobras - they used the snake only in their logo.

With acknowledgements to Adriaan Basson, Iaine Harper and the Beeld.