President Thabo Mbeki has suspended the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Vusi Pikoli, the GCIS said on Monday.
"This decision was taken on the basis of an irretrievable break down in the working relationship between the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and the NDPP," said Government Communications and Information System's spokesperson Themba Maseko.
He said the suspension was in terms of Section 12 (6) (a) of the National Prosecution Act 32 of 1998.
Maseko said Mbeki considered the relationship between the Minister and the NDPP central to the effective administration of justice and the "smooth functioning" of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
"The relationship breakdown had adverse implications for the NPA and the functioning of the criminal justice system," he said.
He said an enquiry would be instituted to investigate the functioning and role of the NDPP. Recommendations would then be made to the President.
Deputy National Director Mokotedi Mpshe has been appointed as acting director.
"Government would like to reassure all South Africans that the functioning of the justice system will not be compromised, especially within the context of the collective challenge to fight crime," he said. - Sapa