DA: Pikoli decision 'has the hallmarks of a cover-up'

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has suggested a cover-up in President Kgalema Motlanthe’s decision to fire National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Vusi Pikoli, saying he had failed the first real test of his presidency.

“President Motlanthe’s decision to fire advocate Pikoli without justifiable explanation has all the hallmarks of a cover-up,” a DA statement said.

“The president has ignored the Ginwala commission’s recommendation that Pikoli should remain in office and instead used its findings selectively in the pursuance of a narrow political agenda.”

The DA inferred that Pikoli was fired to replace him with one who would “do the ANC’s bidding in respect of the prosecution of Jacob Zuma”.

“As such, Motlanthe has failed the first real test of his presidency, which was to put South Africa’s interests before the narrow interests of the Zuma faction of the ANC.”

Focusing on the “peripheral aspect” of national security was the “fig leaf” of politicians with something to hide, the DA continued.

“The fact of the matter is that the Ginwala commission found that Pikoli is fit to hold office and that he should be restored to the office of the NDPP.”

The party would not support a parliamentary resolution to fire Pikoli.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) said it was not surprised by the decision, as it wasn’t the first time inquiry recommendations have been ignored.

“The finding of the Ginwala commission is that he is fit to hold that office, but it won’t be the first time that the ANC government ignores the findings of commissions it has appointed, such as it did with the Khampepe commission into the Scorpions,” UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said.

“It must be remembered that Mr Pikoli was the one who reinstituted charges against Mr Zuma; clearly he is being punished for not delivering a verdict that suits the palace,” said Holomisa, in reference to the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) corruption investigation against the ANC president.

“It is clear that people are sent to head institutions to promote and protect the ANC, but the moment that such people show any backbone, integrity or independence they are hounded out of office,” he said.

Patricia de Lille, leader of the Independent Democrats (ID), added: “Just like the findings of the Khampepe commission and the Van Zyl Slabbert report [into the country’s electoral system] before it, so have the recommendations of the Ginwala commission been rejected by the current president.

“The fact that the president has relieved Mr Pikoli of his duties despite the commission’s findings that he carried out his duties without fear or favour is unacceptable.
Saying that Pikoli did not fully understand national security interests does not hold water for the ID. National security is too often used by the ANC as a disguise for the protection of the narrow political interests of the ANC.”

The Young Communist League on the other hand welcomed the news, calling it “bold” and hoped it would restore the NPA’s credibility and help create stability. However, it contended that acting NDPP Mokotedi Mpshe was a “carbon copy” of Pikoli.

The league demanded that the report be released to the public. It also wanted an explanation from Pikoli on the “Browse Mole” report, in which it was alleged that there was foreign funding for a coup to bring Zuma to the presidency of the country. The draft was handed to Pikoli by one of the authority’s senior directors.—Sapa, I-Net Bridge

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