Government fails to deliver Pikoli charge

A day before deadline, the Ginwala Commission of Inquiry into suspended National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli had yet to receive government's submission on the matter yesterday.

Asked whether a submission had been received, commission deputy secretary Lawson Naidoo said: "Not as yet."

Asked about the looming January 15 deadline - set by commission chairman Frene Ginwala - he said normal practice meant the document should be delivered to the commission by the "end of the working day [today]" at the latest.

Asked if he had heard from government, he said he had not received any indication on the matter.

According to the rules and time-frames set by Ginwala, Pikoli himself has a further two weeks, until January 31, to make his submission.

Third parties - people asked by Ginwala to make submissions or those with special interest or knowledge - have the same deadline.

President Thabo Mbeki suspended Pikoli on September 24 last year, and four days later, appointed Ginwala - the former Speaker of the National Assembly - to head the inquiry.

The inquiry's reference covers two broad areas: Pikoli's fitness to hold office, and the breakdown of the working relationship between him and Justice Minister Brigitte Mabandla.

Asked yesterday afternoon whether a submission had been made or was about to be made, Mabandla's spokesman Zolile Nqayi said: "I don't know."

The submission, he said, was that of the government and not the responsibility of his department. He referred Sapa to government spokesman Themba Maseko.

Maseko, who is on leave, undertook to find out what was happening with the submission today. It is understood the matter is being handled by the State Attorney's office in Johannesburg.

After Pikoli's January 31 submissions, Mabandla has until February 12 to file her reply submissions. Public hearings, if any, are scheduled to take place from February 25 to March 7.

The commission will sit in Pretoria. - SapaSee page 6