Former cabinet minister Kader Asmal resigned from parliament because he did not want to vote for the disbanding of the Scorpions, he said in a lecture on Tuesday evening.

It would have been immoral of him to vote for the disbanding of the Scorpions, Asmal told an audience at the University of Johannesburg, Beeld newspaper reported on Wednesday.

He said he had made it clear that he did not want the Scorpions to be disbanded and that he stuck to his principles by retiring.

Asmal also said the so-called Travelgate MPs should not have been allowed to vote on the disbanding of the special investigating unit.

“The issue here is not whether the member of parliament is legally entitled to vote, the issue is how it is perceived as a matter of ethics. Is it right to take actions against the very body that has completed the investigation against you?,” asked Asmal, according to Sowetan newspaper.

MPs implicated in the Travelgate scandal were allowed to vote on the Scorpions last week after businessman Hugh Glenister failed in a court bid to block them.

Glenister insisted that because MPs allegedly involved in the travel voucher scam had been investigated by the Scorpions, they had a conflict of interest.

The National Assembly last Thursday approved legislation to disband the unit, which was responsible for criminal investigations against African National Congress president Jacob Zuma and suspended police chief Jackie Selebi.