Publication: Mail and Guardian Issued: Date: 2008-12-12 Reporter:

Utter, Craven Nonsense



Mail and Guardian



Web Link

We are disappointed. Kgalema Motlanthe has had a decent run in the Union Buildings, He handled his first test well, reshuffling the Cabinet intelligently and soothing feelings rubbed raw by Thabo Mbeki's ejection. He has been low-profile since, struggling to rise to the challenge of the Zimbabwe crisis, but seeming to work effectively on a limited local agenda.

His next big domestic test came with the completion and release of the Ginwala commission report into the fitness for office of National Prosecuting Authority chief Vusi Pikoli.

Motlanthe has fluffed it comprehensively. Ginwala may have found Pikoli fit for office, but her suggestion that he lacked an appreciation of the political sensitivities of his job, and hadn't adequately considered national security concerns around the arrest of Jackie Selebi, were grounds for his dismissal, Motlanthe insisted.

That is utter, craven nonsense. Some blame must attach to Ginwala, who had no choice in the face of the evidence but to find in favour of the prosecutions boss. She was so anxious to exonerate Mbeki that she reintroduced these two caveats about Pikoli through a kind of evidentiary back door, without any real supporting testimony.

If she opened the door, however, it was Motlanthe who jumped through it, clinging to those marginal criticisms as if his job depended on them. Perhaps it does.

It was on Pikoli's watch that charges against Motlanthe's rival and political boss Jacob Zuma were reinstated. It is hard to imagine Blade Nzimande, Baleka Mbete and Lumka Yengeni tolerating his return to work.

They have prepared a place for Ngoako Ramatlhodi at the head of the NPA, and he is no doubt anxious to get down to some genuinely political prosecuting decisions.

Apologists for Motlanthe might argue that he has limited room for manoeuvre, deployed by the ANC to keep the chair warm for Zuma, and the object of intense suspicion from those who think he would like to keep it.

That simply is not good enough. The buck stops with the president, and ours should be ashamed of himself.

With acknowledgements to Mail and Guardian.