Ex NPA boss ‘disturbed’ by lack of accountability
It is disturbing that President Jacob Zuma breached the country’s constitution and parliament refused to hold him accountable, former National Prosecuting Authority boss Advocate Vusi Pikoli has said.
Pikoli was speaking at a breakfast organised by Port Elizabeth law firm BLC Attorneys yesterday.
“Clean governance starts when the leadership starts to serve the public, rather than raid public coffers,” he said.
Pikoli was outspoken about his views of Zuma, particularly with the Constitutional Court ruling that the president failed to uphold, defend and respect the constitution.
The court condemned the “illegality” of Zuma’s conduct in failing to comply with the remedial action set out by public protector Thuli Madonsela in her 2014 report dealing with the spending on his Nkandla home.
“The way the judgment was written – that Zuma should pay … in his personal capacity with his own money – shows the court’s understanding of the situation and speaks to society’s annoyance,” Pikoli said.
He said many people believed the country was at a crossroad, but they were wrong.
“Personally I do not believe we are at a crossroad. [Looking at the judgment against Zuma] I believe we have clear direction.”
He said integrity was not something that could be taught at school, but should come from a personal place stemming from values instilled in a person during their upbringing.
His belief was directly related to the “rampant corruption” preventing South Africa from moving forward.
“Solving South Africa’s problems, like poverty and unemployment, starts with proper management of public resources. “How do you address poverty when the state is behind the plundering of public resources?”
He said each generation had to find ways of dealing with struggles unique to their era.
“New struggles require new approaches. We need to work together to build a new society and stable economy, and the new generation has to bring its own approach to these.”
When asked what the public should do when they started to lose faith in the government and the processes being followed in parliament, Pikoli’s answer was simple.
“The power to change the government is in the hands of the electorate,” he said.
Asked why he had turned down a nomination to take up the mantle of public protector, Pikoli chuckled and wryly said: “Let’s just say it is because I am on a five-year contract as the Western Cape police ombudsman.”