Put South Africa first - Pikoli

2009-02-26 08:13

Johannesburg - South Africans need to put the country's interests first not the interests of political parties, said axed National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli on Wednesday.

"We as individuals need to be able to rise above party political interests when it comes to issues of the country," he said during a debate on law and politics, hosted by the University of Johannesburg.

Pikoli said the way the Constitution was designed, executive powers rested on the head of state. The president was the one who took decisions and gave orders.

"...The issue is not where power resides but how it is being exercised.. that's where the need for watchdogs comes in our society."

Law makers become law breakers

He said members of Parliament were supposed to be people of high integrity in society as they were law makers.

"But we have a situation where law makers become law breakers, for instance the Travelgate saga and some MPs facing criminal charges.

"MPs tend to want to protect party political interests against the public and parliament's interests."

He said integrity was crucial in society and the country had to encourage a culture of obeying the law, where people would do the right thing even when they were not being watched.

Pikoli said the country had a situation where Parliament failed to exercise its right of being a watch dog.

"...Instead it has become a lapdog, not scrutinising laws passed by the executive."

Judiciary

The former NPA boss said there was no threat posed against the judiciary for now but he was concerned about the pronouncements made against it by senior cadres of the African National Congress.

"Judges are applauded when they rule in favour of the ruling party members. But they are trashed when they rule against them and called counter-revolutionaries."

Pikoli is currently challenging his sacking as prosecutions head, in papers filed at the Pretoria High Court on February 18.

He wants President Kgalema Motlanthe's decision to be reviewed, set aside and declared invalid.

On Wednesday, he emphasised that this was not about getting his job back but about "protecting an important principle".

- SAPA

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