Pikoli recommendations ignored
Pretoria - President Kgalema Motlanthe has decided to ignore the recommendation of former Speaker of the National Assembly Frene Ginwala that the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Vusi Pikoli, should
be restored to office. Instead, he has decided to dismiss him.
Ginwala found that the government had not proved its case against Pikoli,
but made some remarks about his insensitivity to issues of national security.
The president has seized on these remarks to relieve Pikoli of his
Motlanthe described Ginwala's recommendation to keep Pikoli on as "illogical".
"Were you to read the full report you will see that it is illogical," he told a media briefing on Monday.
However, one recommendation of Ginwala's - that the conduct of the director general of Justice, Menzi Simelane, left much to be desired - has been acted on. The president has requested the Minister of Justice, Enver Surty, to "follow the matter up", though he would not actually say he wanted the man fired.
In the report of her inquiry into the fitness of Pikoli to hold office as
director of public prosecutions, Ginwala said that "several of the allegations
levelled against Advocate Pikoli were shown to be baseless".
She further insisted: "I am not of the opinion that there has been an
irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between the minister and Advocate
She said such differences as there were could have been overcome through "collegial discussion" and the establishment of formal channels of communication.
The government, she said, failed to produce evidence to show that the cases of plea and sentence agreements it cited had contravened the prosecution policy. Nor, she said, was Pikoli obliged to account to the director general of Justice in the way the government alleged.
But she did say that she found issues of concern in the capacity and
understanding of Pikoli to carry out his responsibilities.
"These relate primarily to his understanding of issues pertaining to
national security and his lack of appreciation of the political environment in
which the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) needs to operate," she said.
Ginwala also made it clear that she did not believe Pikoli when he said he
was suspended because of the action he proposed to take against the national commissioner, Jackie Selebi.
Discussions with Mbeki
She said her most serious concerns arise from the evidence of discussions
between Pikoli and former president Thabo Mbeki just prior to Pikoli's suspension.
"Advocate Pikoli did not give due consideration to the actions the
president might need to take in order to defuse a potential security crisis and
instability, and to preserve the country's international reputation," Ginwala
said. "He did not take seriously the president's concerns about the mood of the (police service) and their possible reaction to the arrest of the national
Motlanthe quoted what she said about Pikoli being asked to give the
president two weeks to sort things out before he acted. Pikoli replied: "No, I
give you one week."
"Had this been presented as a reason for the suspension, when his conduct would have held a real risk of undermining national security, I would not have hesitated to find the reason to be legitimate," she said in her report.
"However these were not among the reasons put forward by government before the inquiry."
Motlanthe told the media conference that he invited Pikoli to make
representations to him especially with regard to the adverse findings made
"I formed a view that Advocate Pikoli's representations exhibited a failure
on his part to acknowledge the serious deficiencies identified by the inquiry,"
The president's decision will now be communicated to Parliament, which in
any case will have the last say in the matter. Motlanthe said that the law
requires him to give his decision to Parliament within 30 days. He said,
however he would be able to do it by the end of this week.