Pikoli affair

2008-05-10 00:00

IN September last year, citing the breakdown in the working relationship between National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli and Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla as his primary reason, President Thabo Mbeki suspended Pikoli. This week a commission headed by former National Assembly speaker Frene Ginwala opened its inquiry into the matter.

If Pikoli is right in believing that the move was meant to protect Selebi (since charged with corruption), further questions arise. It has been suggested that in the run-up to Polokwane, Mbeki saw Selebi as an important ally in the ANC leadership struggle. The idea that the president might interfere in the legitimate activities of the national prosecuting authority in order to further his personal political interests is outrageous, but Mbeki has a growing reputation for denialism, obfuscation and intervention that does not further the interests of the nation. It must be hoped that Pikoli will not give in to the rumoured pressure on him to pre-empt the Ginwala Commission by resigning and that the full truth of the matter will soon emerge.

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