The Star – through an Access to Information application – is fighting to obtain Justice Minister Brigitte
Mabandla's 47-page explanation for the controversial suspension of prosecutions chief Vusi Pikoli, writes Karyn Maughan in The Star.

While the government initially claimed that the suspension was motivated by a "breakdown" in Mabandla's relationship with Pikoli, it has since been strongly linked to Pikoli's attempts to investigate, arrest and prosecute National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi for corruption.

In a three-page letter to former ANC chief whip Frene Ginwala, who is heading the President Thabo Mbeki-appointed inquiry into Pikoli's fitness to hold office, lawyers for Independent Newspapers have argued that the reasons for Pikoli's suspension and his potential removal from office "are all matters of extreme public interest and concern".

The letter further explains that Independent Newspapers was seeking the government's Ginwala-inquiry submissions, which were handed over to her last week, not only to "vindicate the right of the public to receive information" but also to "give meaningful effect" to the media's right to access to information.

The letter, written after Ginwala's spokesperson Lawson Naidoo yesterday told The Star that Mabandla's submissions were not publicly available – argues that failure to allow the media access to the submissions would "undermine the values of accountability articulated as South Africa's founding values under the constitution".

While the government usually has up to 30 days to respond to Access to Information requests, Independent Newspapers has asked that its request be dealt with by Friday next week.

The Star yesterday established that Pikoli has no intention of leaving his job without a fight and has called on senior counsel Wim Trengove, the advocate who squashed fraudster Schabir Shaik's bid for freedom, to represent him at the Ginwala inquiry.

Click here to read the full report, posted on The Star's website (subscription required.)