National Assembly votes Pikoli out of office

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Parliament - The National Assembly has voted 233 to 60 in favour of having suspended National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli removed from his position.

The vote on Thursday came after President Kgalema Motlanthe referred his decision to remove Mr Pikoli from office to the National Assembly for either adoption or rejection.

Former President Thabo Mbeki mandated the former Speaker of Parliament, Dr Frene Ginwala, to investigate certain and counter-allegations submitted by the Justice Department as well as Adv Pikoli himself.

A report was prepared to this end and submitted to the President on 4 November 2008.

Following the release of the report, President Motlanthe told media from the Union Buildings in December last year: "I was required as President of the Republic to make a final decision ... on whether or not Advocate Pikoli was fit and proper to continue to hold the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

"I have come to the determination that Advocate Pikoli should be relieved of his responsibility as the country's National Director of Public Prosecutions."

Adv Pikoli was suspended as NDPP by former President Thabo Mbeki on 23 September 2007, due to an "irretrievable breakdown" in the relationship between himself and the former Minister of Justice Brigitte Mabandla, among other reasons.

President Motlanthe highlighted that the report had found Adv Pikoli had a lack of understanding of his responsibility to operate within a strict security environment, and to ensure that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) operated in a manner that took into account and did not compromise national security.

"Adv Pikoli's professional competence is not in question.

"However, it should be noted that the requisite skills would, necessarily, include professional competence as well as those outlined by the enquiry, in particular, appreciation for and sensitivity to matters of national security," the President said at the time.