The African National Congress (ANC) has called on South Africans to “rally behind” the new proposed South African Police Service (SAPS) directorate that will replace the Scorpions.

In a statement on Friday, the ruling party welcomed the passing of two Bills in the National Assembly the day before, which will see the Directorate of Special Operations, popularly known as the Scorpions, replaced by an SAPS crime-investigation directorate.

“The ANC would like to assure South Africans that the amended Bills are the beginning of a long process to out-root crime and corruption.

“Having a united police force will ensure proper coordination and management to deal with organised crime.

“The ANC calls upon all South Africans to rally behind the new proposed police service and ensure that criminals find it unbearable to commit crime in South Africa,” it said.

The demise of the Scorpions drew closer on Thursday when legislation to disband the unit was approved in the National Assembly amid vehement opposition.

Koos van der Merwe of the Inkatha Freedom Party said “the murder of the Scorpions” was reckless political expediency to protect ANC leaders and members from criminal investigation and possible prosecution.

“The decision is the result of a Communist takeover of the ANC at [its] Polokwane conference,” he said.

“The communist takeover is switching on many red lights for the future of this country and especially for democracy.”