Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2007-09-27 Reporter: Boyd Webb Reporter: Wendy Jasson da Costa

President Speaks Out on Pikoli Row



The Star




Boyd Webb
Wendy Jasson da Costa

Web Link


'SA crime levels are too high for such conflicts, stalemates'

Suspending National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli was the best way to deal with the conflict that had arisen between Pikoli and Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla, President Thabo Mbeki said.

With crime levels as they were in the country, the office of the Public Prosecutions could not afford to be embroiled in conflict and stalemate situations, Mbeki told the SABC on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York yesterday.

The government announced Pikoli's suspension on Monday citing an irretrievable breakdown in the working relationship between him and the justice minister.

But yesterday analysts argued that the president's decision to have Pikoli report to both Mabandla and Safety and Security minister Charles Nqakula had been a recipe for disaster and was unconstitutional.

"You cannot serve two masters," researcher at the Institute for Security Studies Johan Burger argued.

A senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, Jake Moloi, yesterday said the constitution stipulated that the NPA should report only to the justice minister.

This was in stark contrast to proposals made by the Khampepe Commission - accepted by Mbeki - that the NPA had to report to Nqakula and to Mabandla.

The constitution had effectively been amended "through the back door", said Moloi.

The Khampepe Commission recommended that the investigative wing of the NPA, the Scorpions, should report to Nqakula and the prosecuting wing to Mabandla.

However, insiders say Pikoli preferred to report directly to Mbeki - just like his predecessor, Bulelani Ngcuka, had.

With acknowledgements to Boyd Webb, Wendy Jasson da Costa and The Star.