Vusi Pikoli knows where his loyalties lie
After years of frustration at the hands of "the liberation movement", former national prosecutions boss Vusi Pikoli has found love in the DA. Pikoli now heads the Western Cape police ombudsman's office, a DA innovation, and is loving it.Raised in the ANC, Pikoli was in exile during the apartheid era and underwent training in the ANC's military wing. Hejoined the government on his return to South Africa, first as an adviser and later as head of the National Prosecuting Authority.But now, eight years after leaving the NPA, he is serving the DA in the Western Cape as the country's first police ombudsman."It's a legitimate government, isn't it? It was voted in by the people of the Western Cape," said Pikoli.Leaning back in his chair in his small office on the sixth floor of the Waldorf Building, in Cape Town, Pikoli explained he was serving the Western Cape and not politicians."I am here to serve the people. I am not here to serve the DA or the ANC. I am here to do a job."To those who say he has turned his back on the liberation movement, he says: "If anybody interprets this as turning my back on the ANC, that's plain stupid."He expressed his devotion to his new job."I love it. I mean I am here in this office at 6am."In his job as NPA head he got caught between warring factions in the ANC.It was in the lead-up to the ANC's Polokwane conference that Pikoli decided to criminally charge then deputy ANC president Jacob Zuma and the national police commissioner, Jackie Selebi.As the race to lead the ANC between former president Thabo Mbeki and Zuma intensified, Pikoli found himself out in the cold and was ultimately sacked by Acting President Kgalema Motlanthe.But this time around Pikoli wants to steer clear of politics. He declined to comment on the current crisis in the NPA."I don't play politics here. I know all the political issues that are there in terms of contestation."Issues of crime are issues of crime. They affect everybody, irrespective of party politics."Pikoli says his new job puts him above politics."When you come to my office, there is only one political party here. It's the party of the ombudsman," he said.Established this year, the office was born out of the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry into police working practices. Pikoli was one of he inquiry's two commissioners.His job is to investigate complaints of police inefficiency, and breakdowns in relations between communities and the police."I intend ensuring that this office is truly independent; it's going to be used by anyone. It's not going to be used by politicians. It's not going to be abused by any member of the public or by the police," he said.