Pikoli laughs off Public Protector role suggestions

2016-05-25 15:33
Vusi Pikoli (Erin Bates, News24)

Vusi Pikoli (Erin Bates, News24)

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Cape Town - The former head of the National Prosecuting Authority laughed off suggestions that he be considered for the role of Public Protector once Thuli Madonsela's term ends in October.

"That's a naughty question," Vusi Pikoli, current head of the Western Cape's Police Ombudsman's office, said at the Big Issue's business breakfast on Wednesday.

He listed the Public Protector's office among institutions which anchor and strengthen the country's democracy. "If you are weakening those, you are weakening this democracy," he said.

In March, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in the Constitutional Court ruled that the Public Protector's remedial action against President Jacob Zuma over the upgrades to his Nkandla home were binding and that he had failed to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution.

Madonsela had found that upgrades which were done on Zuma's homestead were not all security upgrades, as stated.

She found that Zuma had unduly benefited from some of the improvements which included the building of an amphitheatre, a cattle kraal, a chicken run and swimming pool, among other things.

As a course of remedial action, she recommended that he pay back a portion of the funds used for the upgrades.

Acting in violation of Constitution

Madonela's report, however, was set aside by the National Assembly after Zuma made submissions on why he should not pay back the funds. An ad hoc committee led by the minister of police also backed Zuma's report and exonerated him from upholding the recommendations in the report.

The DA and EFF were among the parties that took the matter to the Constitutional Court, arguing that the Public Protector's report cannot be ignored.

"Acting inconsistently with the Constitution when there is a specific obligation imposed on you and you fail to do that [means] you are acting in violation of the Constitution," Pikoli said.

"The president, by ignoring [the recommendations and] failing to recognise that action then failed to protect and defend and respect the Constitution of the republic."

Pikoli said institutions such as the Human Rights Commission, the Auditor General and the Public Protector were the anchors of democracy.

Read more on:    public protector  |  vusi pikoli  |  thuli madonsela

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