Pikoli committee gets off to shaky start

The hearings of the parliamentary committee trying to decide whether or not Vusi Pikoli was rightly sacked by President Kgalema Motlanthe got under way on Wednesday, as the committee elected co-chairpersons, one from the National Assembly and the other from the National Council of Provinces.

The committee is made up of members of both the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The election process, however, did not run smoothly.

A DA member, Len Joubert, asked the ANC to think again about nominating Oupa Monareng as the co-chairperson from the National Assembly as he has a conviction for bribery, which might make him an inappropriate choice to be leading the decision on the future of the director of public prosecutions.

Joubert was predictably snowed under with a storm of objections and points from order from the government side. And despite some support from other opposition parties, the question was allowed to lapse.

After the meeting was over, Monareng said he had no intention of rescuing himself. He said that the charges had been trumped up against him by police witnesses angry at his vote against the Gauteng provincial commissioner.

In any case, he said, there could be no conflict of interest as the conviction was obtained in 1996—two years before the National Prosecuting Authority Act was passed into law.

Once safely installed in the chair, Monareng called for approval of a programme which will be a good deal shorter than expected. The committee is now planning to finish its work before the end of this month.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille objected to the short sessions the committee was allowing for, with all the sittings proposed to last three hours, in the mornings only.

It was argued against her that there are to be plenary sessions of Parliament in the afternoons and other committees will also be sitting.

Monareng announced that Vusi Pikoli will give a submission to the committee next Tuesday and the Presidency will also make a presentation the following day.—I-Net Bridge

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