News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Monday April 22nd 2019

New twist in Pikoli drama looms

Yugendree Naidoo

The stage is set for the next twist in the drama of axed National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) boss Vusi Pikoli, after an acrimonious National Council of Provinces (NCOP) vote on Tuesday endorsed his removal. The NCOP move was widely expected and Pikoli is now likely to take legal action to challenge his controversial dismissal by President Kgalema Motlanthe on December 8.

Speaking before the NCOP vote, Pikoli’s legal representative, Advocate Aslam Moosajee from Deneys Reitz Attorneys, said “no surprises” were expected from the NCOP.

“We will be applying to court as early as tomorrow to review and set aside the decision to remove him from his position as national director of public prosecution,” said Moosajee, who would not be drawn further.

The vote followed the setting up of an ad-hoc parliamentary committee after Pikoli’s axing. That committee recommended that the two houses of Parliament, the National Assembly (NA) and the NCOP, pass a resolution to remove Pikoli from office.

The resolution was passed in the NA last week, but the NCOP was also required to vote on the resolution. Yesterday, all nine provinces in the NCOP voted in favour of the resolution.

Before the vote, the ANC and opposition parties were given an opportunity to speak on the matter.

This led to snide remarks, chirping and banging on tables – prompting the chair to appeal for order on two separate occasions.

Opposition parties have consistently been in favour of reinstating Pikoli, accusing the ANC-dominated committee of rubber-stamping Motlanthe’s decision.

DA MP Wilhelm Le Roux said it was impossible to understand the reasons for the way the ANC was treating Pikoli, since the party had previously found him to be a “man of integrity”.

He said the voters would see through the reasons provided for Pikoli’s removal. Pikoli was initially suspended by former president Thabo Mbeki for not taking national security into consideration in the NPA’s probe of National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi’s links to organised crime, but opposition parties have labelled this as a smokescreen.

“Unfortunately his brave stance might cost him his job,” said Le Roux.

But ANC MP Faith Mazibuko attacked Pikoli’s character, saying he was “rude and disrespectful” and “looked down on others”.

“He is pompous and therefore can’t admit when he is wrong,” she said.

After Parliament’s NA voted 232 in favour of and 60 against the recommendation that Pikoli be fired, Independent Democrats (ID) leader Patricia de Lille hit out at the process.

“We do not see the point of spending millions of rand on these types of commissions [the Ginwala Commission], when government repeatedly rejects and shows scant regard for their recommendations.”

She said the fact that Motlanthe had relieved Pikoli of his duties despite the Commission’s findings that he carried out his duties without fear or favour, was “unacceptable”.

“The way the ad-hoc committee dealt with this matter was unfair and not objective because the committee simply rubber stamped a decision already made at Luthuli House,” said De Lille.

Tags: Pikoli Zuma Motlanthe NCOP Parliament

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