Opposition parties take issue with Pikoli decision
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) said it was shocked and disappointed by President Kgalema Motlanthe’s decision to relieve Vusi Pikoli of his duties as national director of public prosecutions (NDPP).
“The ACDP is shocked and disappointed by President Motlanthe’s decision to relieve advocate Pikoli of his duties as NDPP following the Ginwala commission’s finding that advocate Pikoli is indeed fit and proper to hold office,” a statement read.
It was not convinced that it was because Pikoli had breached national security, saying this was a cover-up by certain factions within the African National Congress (ANC) to get rid of him.
Like the Democratic Alliance (DA), it would not support the decision when it goes to Parliament for a vote of confirmation or rejection.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) said it would study former speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala’s recommendations and find ways in which they could be integrated into the ongoing review of the Criminal Justice System.
The SACP believed the continued leadership of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) by Pikoli would have gone against the “spirit of what is currently under way in undoing this rot which posed a threat to our democracy and stability of our country”.
The Freedom Front Plus’s Pieter Mulder contended that the decision to fire Pikoli was made by the ANC at its headquarters, Luthuli House, and it was merely up to the party’s deputy president, Motlanthe, to make the decision public.
The fact that Motlanthe ignored Ginwala’s recommendation that Pikoli keep his post was an indication that the whole matter actually revolved around a power play within the ANC.
The DA suggested a cover-up, saying Motlanthe 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.”
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 was not the first time inquiry recommendations had 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 [Jacob] Zuma; clearly he is being punished for not delivering a verdict that suits the palace,” said Holomisa, in reference to the NPA’s 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.
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.
Meanwhile, the NPA considers Vusi Pikoli its suspended national director of public prosecutions until the parliamentary process to fire him is finalised, spokesperson Tlali Tlali said on Monday.
“We understand that it is a process ... it is a process that is provided for in the [NPA] Act. That does not mean there is a vacuum in the NPA.
“We understand that advocate Vusi Pikoli is still on his suspension. The president has announced the decision, but it is a decision that has to be processed before Parliament,” said Tlali.
Mokotedi Mpshe also remained the acting NDPP until that process had been completed.
“We understand that advocate Mokotedi Mpshe will stay on in that position until a different communiqué will have been sent.”
In terms of the Act, Motlanthe refers his decision to fire Pikoli to Parliament, where it is put to the vote and is either confirmed or rejected.—Sapa