“There are more people within the ANC who would realise that things are not the way they are supposed to be. They don’t want to own up to these fears and transcend this fear,” Pikoli told the Cape Town Press Club.
He said he joined the then liberation movement in 1980, served in the African National Congress’s armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe, and remained a loyal member of the party.
“My children accuse me of exhibiting symptoms of a battered wife. They say I don’t want to leave this abusive partner.”
Pikoli was axed as the country’s prosecutions boss in 2008, following his decisions to institute corruption charges against disgraced former police chief Jackie Selebi and President Jacob Zuma.
He said he was also forced to resign from the auditing firm, SizweNtsalubaGobodo, claiming the ANC threatened to withdraw lucrative government contracts if he did not leave.
Explaining his unflinching support for the ANC, Pikoli quoted Oliver Tambo, who said a line needed to be drawn between “questionable loyalty” to the party and “questioning loyalty”.
Pikoli ascribed to the latter. “That’s why I’m always in trouble with my organisation, because I don’t have an unquestioning loyalty,” he said.
He said it was his duty to question the direction the organisation was moving towards, and he said others were beginning to do the same.
“It is that unquestioning loyalty that makes us see a number of protests of service delivery… When we go to public hospitals, you go there with one ailment and you come out with three.
“It is this unquestioning loyalty that ensures that our children still are receiving their education under trees.”
Pikoli said his decisions to prosecute Selebi and Zuma were made because his public duty at the time was greater than any loyalty he had.
“I don’t regret the decisions I’ve taken during my term of office,” he said.