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Parliamentary Ad-Hoc Committee to Evaluate Decision to Remove NPA Director

August 6, 2009

The Presidency

An ad-hoc committee would shortly be convened in Parliament to determine the future of the present head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). Parliament has been recalled a week earlier than originally planned in order to constitute a joint ad-hoc committee to consider the recent decision by president Kgalema Motlanthe to remove the director of the NPA, advocate Vusi Pikoli, from his position. The Constitution provides that Parliament must review such a decision.

A statement on Parliament’s website confirmed that Parliament would shortly release the names of the committee members. The names had already been submitted to Parliament’s presiding officers for their consideration.

The committee will consist of 22 members from both the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) with 14 drawn from the ANC’s ranks and the remaining 8 from a mixture of opposition parties.

In accordance with joint rule 32 of the rules of Parliament, the committee will have the power to summon any individual, including advocate Pikoli, to provide evidence and submit documents.

The president would also be releasing his report on the reasons for his decision. The report will be tabled in Parliament and presented to the ad hoc committee to assist with their deliberations.

The ad hoc committee has been given 30 days in order to complete its task and produce a resolution either rejecting or ratifying the decision. The resolution will then be debated and voted upon in both Houses of Parliament.

According to the parliamentary communications services, Parliament had opted for a more “involved internal process” by establishing the ad hoc committee. The other option would have been to simply refer the matter to plenary sessions of the NA and NCOP. The committee would be able to undertake a detailed investigation of the issues at hand. Parliament is vested with the power to reverse the president’s decision.

President Motlanthe was empowered by section 12 of the National Prosecuting Act to remove the NPA’s national director from his position. Both the speaker of the NA and the chairperson of the NCOP had felt it necessary to recall Parliament a week earlier in order to provide sufficient time to deal with the issue.