'you are a threat to national security'

SECURITY RISK: Vusi Pikoli, the suspended national director of public prosecutions. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 07/05/08. © Sowetan.
SECURITY RISK: Vusi Pikoli, the suspended national director of public prosecutions. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 07/05/08. © Sowetan.

President Thabo Mbeki suspended Scorpions head Vusi Pikoli because he posed a "threat to national security", Pikoli's lawyers said yesterday.

President Thabo Mbeki suspended Scorpions head Vusi Pikoli because he posed a "threat to national security", Pikoli's lawyers said yesterday.

Also, director-general in the department of Justice Menzi Simelane revealed that Pikoli insisted on using a prosecutor (Advocate Anton Ackerman) who had prosecuted activists in the apartheid government to lead the post Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) prosecutions.

This was some of the evidence - including the suspension letter by Mbeki to Pikoli - at public hearings into whether Pikoli was fit to hold office continued at the Ginwala Commission.

"I have evaluated the information at my disposal and have reached the conclusion that you, in your capacity as national director of public prosecutions, have failed to appreciate the nature and extent of the threat posed by members of organised crime syndicates to our national security," Mbeki wrote.

"Such a lack of appreciation amounts to a threat to our national security."

Mbeki also warned Pikoli that plea bargaining and immunity could not be done "at the expense of our national security".

Simelane said Pikoli was strongly adviced against his preference for Ackerman.

He said "when Pikoli stood up after the meeting he dropped a line that 'when I want to use Ackerman's advice I will,'" said Simelane.

Earlier, director-general in the presidency Rev Frank Chikane told the hearing that Pikoli's handling of police commissioner Jackie Selebi's matter had the potential to create a crisis

"The raid at the intelligence headquarters could have created problems. The agreement was that the DSO (Scorpions) can look at certain documents but they cannot take away."

He said the presidency could allow Pikoli to execute the warrant or suspend him.

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