Motlanthe ignores suggestions to restore cleared Pikoli to office

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

Former Speaker of Parliament Frene Ginwala has cleared suspended national director of public prosecutions Vusi Pikoli of all charges.

But President Kgalema Motlanthe has fired him anyway.

In the findings of the Ginwala Commission of Inquiry, released yesterday, Ginwala said Pikoli was fit to hold office.

The government said Pikoli was unfit to hold office, accusing him of undermining national security and contravening prosecution policies by authorising plea bargaining with organised criminals.

Also of failing to account to the director-general of justice Menzi Simelane and of clashing with then Justice Minister Bridgette Mabandla.

Ginwala found these charges to be baseless.

But she had serious concerns about Pikoli in ignoring then president Thabo Mbeki's request that he delay arresting National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.

He "did not give due consideration to the actions [Mbeki] might have to take to defuse a potential security crisis and to preserve the country's international reputation".

She said "had this been presented as a reason for the suspension, I would not have hesitated to find the reason to be legitimate".

But this was not one of the reasons the government gave for suspending Pikoli. Her report slammed Simelane, saying "his conduct left much to be desired".