Govt’s Pikoli submission nowhere in sight

With 24 hours to go before deadline, the Ginwala Commission of Inquiry into suspended National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli has yet to receive the government’s submission on the matter.

Asked whether a submission had been received, commission deputy secretary Lawson Naidoo said shortly after 4pm on Monday: ”Not as yet.”

Asked about the looming January 15 deadline — set by commission chairperson Frene Ginwala — he said normal practice means the document should be delivered to the commission by the ”end of the working day” on Tuesday at the latest.

Asked if he had heard from the government, he said he had not had any indication from it on the matter.

According to the rules and timeframes set by Ginwala, Pikoli has a further two weeks, until January 31, to make his submission. Third parties — people asked by Ginwala to make submissions, or those with special interest or knowledge — have until the same date.

President Thabo Mbeki suspended Pikoli on September 24 last year. Four days later, he appointed Ginwala — the former speaker of the National Assembly — to head the inquiry.

Its terms of reference cover two broad areas: Pikoli’s fitness to hold office, and the breakdown of the working relationship between him and Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Brigitte Mabandla.

Asked on Monday afternoon whether a submission had been made or was about to be made, Mabandla’s spokesperson, Zolile Nqayi, said: ”I don’t know.”

The submission, he said, was the responsibility of the government, not of his ministry. He referred enquiries to government spokesperson Themba Maseko.

Maseko, who is on leave, undertook to find out what was happening with the submission on Tuesday.

It is understood the matter is being handled by the state attorney’s office in Johannesburg.

After Pikoli’s January 31 submissions, Mabandla has until February 12 to file her reply submissions. Public hearings, if any, are scheduled to take place from February 25 to March 7. The commission will sit in Pretoria.

In terms of the rules establishing the commission, Ginwala will decide whether to call for a hearing after receiving all the submissions, and whether this will be held in public or private. — Sapa

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