Zuma strikes deal with NPA head Nxasana

The presidency’s announcement of a settlement with National Prosecuting Authority head Mxolisi Nxasana – which made Sunday his last day at the office – sends the wrong signal about the administration and delivery of justice in South Africa, said an analyst.

”Jacob Zuma has reached a settlement with the Head of the National Prosecution Authority, Mr Mxolisi Nxasana, in terms of which Mr Nxasana will vacate his position as National Director of Public Prosecutions from 1 June 2015,” said a statement from the presidency on Sunday.

Nxasana has been replaced by Mashau Silas Ramaite, who was acting in Nxasana’s position, having served as deputy national director of public prosecutions since 2003.

A commission of inquiry into Nxasana’s fitness to hold office was abruptly cancelled on May 11.

Nxasana has had two previous convictions of assault and charges for acts of violence. He was acquitted of murder on the grounds of self-defence. Some of the charges were allegedly not revealed when he was granted his security clearance.

A commission of inquiry into Nxasana’s fitness to hold office — announced in July 2014 — was cancelled at the eleventh hour by chairperson advocate Nazeer Cassim. At the announcement of the cancellation, Cassim said Nxasana appeared to be “someone who exercises an independent mind, who “when the [Richard] Mdluli matter was heard by a judge, he followed the judge’s ruling … Another question is, why didn’t the president do his homework when appointing him?”

Mdluli, a former crime intelligence boss, is expected to face corruption and murder charges in August.

Wrong signal

Francis Antoine from the Helen Suzman Foundation said on Sunday that when the commission of inquiry around Nxasana’s fitness to hold office had been instituted, “we made a submission to the commission about its shortcomings. The executive had failed to meet deadlines around it submissions and, [later], the president only cancelled it on the day when formal proceedings were supposed to begin. And there were no documents put forward to the commission about why [the commission had been cancelled].

“We were questioning the probity of the commission in the first place. Now we hear that a deal has been struck, it again sends the wrong signal about the administration and the delivery of justice in this country.

“With [former Hawks boss Anwa] Dramat leaving, we had written to the minister of police Nathi Nhleko, about the circumstances of that removal. With this removal of Nxasana, we don’t know but it seems to be another golden handshake.”

City Press has reported that Nxasana would hold out for more than the supposed R6-million that he has said to have demanded.

Nxasana’s lawyer Busani Mabunda would not comment on Sunday, saying that he planned to hold a press conference with his client on Tuesday.

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Kwanele Sosibo
Kwanele Sosibo
Kwanele Sosibo is the editor of Friday, the arts and culture section of the Mail and Guardian.

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