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Mbeki defends his axing Pikoli

09 February, 11:51 AM

Former President Thabo Mbeki has explained his reasons for booting Vusi Pikoli as the head of the National Prosecuting Authority NPA) in 2007. The former statesman outlined his version of events in a letter of almost 2,400 words. Mbeki published the letter on Monday, 8 February. It repeats his version of events outlined in the commission led by Frene Ginwala. In short, Mbeki tackles the idea that he abused state power and says he was protecting national security.

In the letter, Mbeki describes the climate between different arms of the State as hostile. The stakes were incredibly high when Pikoli wanted to arrest Selebi. There was “poisono a us relationship” between the National Director of Public Prosecutions and the police service. Mbeki argues Pikoli’s actions would have caused a “violent, armed conflict” between the search and arrest party after Pikoli and the police.

In response to the letter, Pikoli declined interviews and stuck by the account in his book, My Second Initiation. Three years ago at a book launch Pikoli said he “did what he had to do” in charging Selebi, albeit in defiance of Mbeki. Meanwhile, Mbeki says the “real matter was about creating a particular political climate intended to discredit the government of the day.” Watch the video above for a summary of the letter's contents.

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