Election of Chairperson: "Pikoli" Committee

Ad Hoc Joint Committee to Consider Matters ito Section 12 of National Prosecuting Authority Act (Pikoli)

13 January 2009
Chairperson: Acting Chair: Mr Vhonani Ramaano (Committee Secretary),Co-Chairs: Kgoshi M L Mokoena (ANC, Limpopo) & Mr O E Monareng (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Opposition parties objected to the ANC’s nomination of Mr Oupa Monareng as Co-Chairperson (NA) due to a conflict of interest, but supported Kgoshi Mathupa Mokoena as the Co-Chairperson (NCOP). The opposition parties said that due to Mr Monareng’s conviction for bribery, he could not be considered as eligible. The ANC objected to this and noted that opposition parties should have voiced their concerns and objections in 2004 when Mr Monareng had been elected to the National Assembly. A vote was taken and there was a majority support for Mr Monareng.

Mr Monareng emphasised that the purpose of the Ad Hoc Committee was to represent the electorate in approving the President’s decision to axe the National Director of Public Prosecutions or in recommending that he be restored to his office. They would not be another commission of inquiry into Adv Pikoli’s fitness to hold office as the Ginwala Commission had already dealt with the issue.

Meeting report

Election of Co-Chairpersons
Committee secretary and Acting Chairperson, Mr Vhonani Ramaano, opened the meeting by welcoming all those present and proceeded to call for nominations from the National Assembly for the position of Co-Chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee. The African National Congress (ANC) nominated Mr Oupa Monareng for the post of Co-chairperson.

Adv Len Joubert (DA) objected to the nomination and asked whether the ANC did not want to consider their nomination as Mr Monareng had been convicted of attempting to bribe a police officer after being found in possession of a stolen vehicle. At the time, he was a member of the Gauteng Legislature's Safety and Security Committee.

Khoshi Mokoena objected to Adv Joubert's statement and said that he was out of line and called for a point of order.

Mr Bhutana Khompela (ANC) supported Kgoshi Mokoena and stated that the conviction of Mr Monareng was irrelevant in the given scenario and that he had subsequently been elected to Parliament, regardless of the conviction.
 
Mr Steve Swart (ACDP) said that it would be improper for Mr Monareng to serve as Co-Chair due to a conflict of interest and that the same issue had been raised during the Scorpions deliberations. He noted that he had raised this as a matter of principle on the grounds of integrity and honesty as the fitness of Adv Pikoli to hold public office would be discussed.

Mr Ramaano noted that he could not rule on the issue at hand and said that Mr Monareng could be nominated as the Co-Chair as he had been elected as a Member of Parliament. He subsequently asked the State Law Advisor (SLA) to give a legal opinion.

The SLA noted that the issues raised by both the ANC and the opposition parties had to be addressed at a separate meeting as it dealt with a very politically sensitive matter and that Mr Ramaano could not rule on whether Mr Monareng should be excluded from the nomination process.

Ms Patricia De Lille (ID) noted that the matters raised were of a procedural nature and requested that Mr Ramaano conduct the meeting as planned.

Mr Koos van der Merwe (IFP) said that the ANC had been requested to reconsider their nomination of Mr Monareng as bribery could not be seen as a trivial matter by the ANC. Given the fact that Mr Monareng had been found guilty of a very serious offence, he should thus not act as Co-Chairperson.

Mr Ramaano ruled that the ANC should look at the validity of Mr Monareng's position and make a decision.

Mr G Magwanishe (ANC) noted that Section 47(1)(e) of the South African Constitution did not prevent Mr Monareng from being elected as the Co-Chair as he had not been sent to prison and had paid a fine instead. He stated that the opposition parties should have voiced their concerns at the time of Mr Monareng's appointment to the National Assembly in 2004, when he became a Member of Parliament.

The Committee proceeded to vote. The ANC voted in favour (8), with the DA, IFP and ID voting against. Mr Monareng was elected as Co-Chair.

Mr Ramaano called for nominations for the position of Co-Chair from the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Ms Faith Mazibuko (ANC, Gauteng, NCOP) nominated Kgoshi Mokoena. He was elected unanimously.

Terms of Reference
Mr Monareng noted that the purpose of the Ad Hoc Committee was to deliberate on the axing of Adv Vusi Pikoli (National Director of Public Prosecutions) by President Kgalema Motlanthe and that its purpose would not be another commission of inquiry into Adv Pikoli's fitness to hold office as the Ginwala Commission had already dealt with the issue.

Kgoshi Mokoena noted that the Members of this Committee had been entrusted by the electorate to represent their views in Parliament and that all Members were welcomed to raise their opinions so as to get a desirable outcome.

Mr Khompela proposed that the Committee Programme be adopted as is.

Mr van der Merwe seconded the proposal by Mr Khompela.

Ms De Lille suggested that the meeting closing time in the Programme be extended to 5pm, instead of 1pm as Members had been recalled to Parliament earlier in order to discuss the Pikoli matter. It would be a waste of time to conclude business at 1pm.

Mr van der Merwe objected to the proposal by Ms De Lille, saying that Parliament was due to reconvene in the coming week and that this would make it difficult for Members to attend full-day meetings.

Mr Magwanishe noted that the Programme had been drafted in such a manner that Members would still be able to attend to other House business, hence the 13:00 pm deadline for conclusion of business.

Mr Swart stated that he hoped that Members would have access to affidavits and other documents that pertained to the Ginwala Commission when interested parties such as the former Justice Minister and the Director General of the Department of Justice might be called to give evidence.

The Programme was adopted and the meeting adjourned.

Appendix
Section 12 of the National Prosecuting Authority Act

Term of office of National Director and Deputy National Directors
12. (1) The National Director shall hold office for a non-renewable term of 10 years,
but must vacate his or her office on attaining the age of 65 years.
(2) A Deputy National Director shall vacate his or her office at the age of 65.
(3) If the National Director or a Deputy National Director attains the age of 65 years
after the first day of any month, he or she shall be deemed to attain that age on the first
day of the next succeeding month.
(4) If the President is of the opinion that it is in the public interest to retain a National
Director or a Deputy National Director in his or her office beyond the age of 65 years,
and-
(a) the National Director or Deputy National Director wishes to continue to serve
in such office; and
(b) the mental and physical health of the person concerned enable him or her so
to continue,
the President may from time to time direct that he or she be so retained, but not for a
period which exceeds, or periods which in the aggregate exceed, two years: Provided
that a National Director's term of office shall not exceed 10 years.
(5) The National Director or a Deputy National Director shall not be suspended or
removed from office except in accordance with the provisions of subsections (6), (7) and
(8).
(6) (a) The President may provisionally suspend the National Director or a Deputy
National Director from his or her office, pending such enquiry into his or her fitness to
hold such office as the President deems fit and, subject to the provisions of this
subsection, may thereupon remove him or her from office-
 (i) for misconduct;
(ii) on account of continued ill-health;
(iii) on account of incapacity to carry out his or her duties of office efficiently; or
(iv) on account thereof that he or she is no longer a fit and proper person to hold
the office concerned.
(b) The removal of the National Director or a Deputy National Director, the reason
therefor and the representations of the National Director or Deputy National Director (if
any) shall be communicated by message to Parliament within 14 days after such removal
if Parliament is then in session or, if Parliament is not then in session, within 14 days
after the commencement of its next ensuing session.
(c) Parliament shall, within 30 days after the message referred to in paragraph (b) has
been tabled in Parliament, or as soon thereafter as is reasonably possible, pass a
resolution as to whether or not the restoration to his or her office of the National Director
or Deputy National Director so removed, is recommended.
(d) The President shall restore the National Director or Deputy National Director to
his or her office if Parliament so resolves.
(e) The National Director or a Deputy National Director provisionally suspended
from office shall receive, for the duration of such suspension, no salary or such salary as
may be determined by the President.
(7) The President shall also remove the National Director or a Deputy National
Director from office if an address from each of the respective Houses of Parliament in
the same session praying for such removal on any of the grounds referred to in
subsection (6)(a), is presented to the President.
(8) (a) The President may allow the National Director or a Deputy National Director
at his or her request, to vacate his or her office-
(i) on account of continued ill-health; or
(ii) for any other reason which the President deems sufficient.
(b) The request in terms of paragraph (a)(ii) shall be addressed to the President at least
six calendar months prior to the date on which he or she wishes to vacate his or her
office, unless the President grants a shorter period in a specific case.
(c) If the National Director or a Deputy National Director-
(i) vacates his or her office in terms of paragraph (a)(i), he or she shall be entitled
to such pension as he or she would have been entitled to under the pension law
applicable to him or her if his or her services had been terminated on the
ground of continued ill-health occasioned without him or her being
instrumental thereto; or
(ii) vacates his or her office in terms of paragraph (a)(ii), he or she shall be deemed
to have been retired in terms of section 16(4) of the Public Service Act, and he
or she shall be entitled to such pension as he or she would have been entitled
to under the pension law applicable to him or her if he or she had been so
retired.
(9) If the National Director or a Deputy National Director, immediately prior to his
or her appointment as such, was an officer or employee in the public service, and is
appointed under an Act of Parliament with his or her consent to an office to which the
provisions of this Act or the Public Service Act do not apply, he or she shall, as from the
date on which he or she is so appointed, cease to be the National Director, or a Deputy
National Director and if at that date he or she has not reached the age at which he or she
would in terms of the Public Service Act have had the right to retire, he or she shall be
deemed to have retired on that date and shall, subject to the said provisions, be entitled
to such pension as he or she would have been entitled to under the pension law
applicable to him or her had he or she been compelled to retire from the public service
owing to the abolition of his or her post
.

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