President Jacob Zuma told Parliament on Thursday that he was satisfied that the proper processes were followed in the appointment of the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP).
Mxolisi Nxasana has been shrouded in a storm of controversy after the president decided to institute an inquiry into his fitness to hold office. This after it was discovered that he failed to disclose a murder charge which he was acquitted on.
After talks that the president would suspend the NDPP, Nxasana took the matter to court. But the possible suspension seems to have been put on hold after the two met out of court last week.
“The NDPP asked for a meeting with the president… I granted the meeting,” Zuma told parliament. Zuma said Nxasana had tabled certain issues to which he was “still applying my mind”. He added that the two of them collectively halted the court action.
Zuma also told the National Assembly that he was satisfied that the correct processes were followed in the hiring of Nxasana. “I thought as far as the reports that all processes were followed up to the last,” he said. “Those who were following the processes were satisfied at the end that they can employ the head of the NPA.”
Zuma added that it was not up to Parliament to establish the suitability of candidates for the position of NDPP. “Parliament has its own tasks to undertake,” he said.
However, DA parliamentary leader, Mmusi Maimane asked Zuma if, given the corruption charges against him, there was not a conflict of interest regarding him appointing NPA heads.
“As far as I’m concerned I have no charges against me,” Zuma replied. “The issue of conflict of interest does not arise in the job I do.”
Zuma also responded to a question about a former NDPP, Vusi Pikoli, who was suspended in 2007 by then president Thabo Mbeki and was later fired from his position by the following president Kgalema Motlanthe. It is alleged that this was to do with his persistent investigations into both Zuma and then head of police, Jackie Selebi.
“Processes were undertaken. If the president at the time thought he can’t work with this person anymore … why should he be forced to do so?” Zuma argued. He added that Motlanthe did not violate any laws by sacking Pikoli and that there hadn’t been any problems in the hiring and firing of NPA heads.
Zuma added that once the current issues relating to Nxasana are sorted out “we will act in a manner which will ensure that this institution [NPA] is stable”.
The assembly had to be adjourned early after Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members disrupted the session demanding that Zuma pay back the money spent on his private Nkandla residence.
Speaker Baleka Mbete said that Zuma would answer questions on another occasion, but did not specify when.