News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
3 minute read
13 Apr 2017
5:14 pm

Zuma lied under oath, Nxasana alleges (and wants his job back)

Ilse de Lange

Zuma claimed the former NPA boss had agreed to leave office in exchange for a R17.3 million 'golden handshake'.

Former National Prosecuting Authority boss Mxolisi Nxasana during a media briefing on the annual perfomance of the NPA on October 21, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lerato Maduna)

Former national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana has accused President Jacob Zuma of lying under oath by claiming Nxasana had willingly left his office in exchange for a R17.3 million settlement.

“I did not make a request to the president to be allowed to vacate office on the basis of discord in the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority).

“I expressed a preference for the matter to be resolved through a section 12 inquiry.

“I entered into the settlement agreement in order to resolve the dispute between myself and the president … I instituted urgent legal proceedings to interdict my suspension and to obtain sufficient information from the president about the allegations and respond to them.

“The president’s version in this regard is false … To be crystal clear: I never requested that the president allow me to vacate the office of the NDPP in accordance with … the NPA Act, or on any other basis,” he said in an affidavit.

Nxasana gave notice that he would not oppose an application by Corruption Watch and Freedom Under Law to set aside the May 2015 settlement agreement he concluded with President Jacob Zuma and the then justice minister, Michael Masutha, and would abide by the court’s decision.

He nevertheless filed an “explanatory affidavit” sketching the background to the settlement agreement, which he said had been reached to settle what he considered to be an intractable, undesirable and ongoing dispute between him, Zuma and the then justice minister and as an attempt to protect the integrity of the NDPP’s office.

The organisations want the court to declare the settlement agreement unlawful, set it aside and order Nxasana to pay back the money.

They maintain Nxasana should still hold office and that, due to President Zuma’s conflict of interest over the criminal charges that were withdrawn against him, his appointment of Shaun Abrahams in Nxasana’s place should also be declared unlawful.

The settlement agreement resulted in Nxasana being paid out a salary equivalent to his full tenure of 10 years, although he only serviced 17 months of his contract.

Nxasana said it became clear to him during his first year in office that National Deputy Director Nomgcobo Jiba and the Director of the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit Lawrence Mrwebi appeared determined to undermine his standing with the president.

“I later established that they had run a campaign to discredit me … I believe (they) advised the president that I intended to reinstate the criminal charges against him that my predecessor had withdrawn,” he said.

A 2015 commission of inquiry into Nxasana’s fitness to hold office was called off at the last minute after he launched urgent proceedings to stop his suspension. He withdrew the application in the light of settlement talks with the president.

Nxasana said the president and justice minister had both recorded in the settlement that he was fit to hold office.

“To this day I maintain that I am fit and proper to hold the office of the NDPP and would service again,” he added.

According to Nxasana he had concluded the settlement agreement not in terms of the NPA Act, but to settle his unresolved dispute with the president, although he now accepted that the act regulated the terms of any early termination of his tenure.

“The settlement agreement was not, and was never intended to be, concluded to constitute a request on my part to vacate office in terms of the act.

“…It was my belief that it was in the best interests of the office of the NDPP and the institutional integrity of the NPA that the president and I settle our dispute, and that I relinquish my position as NDPP as part of the settlement,” he said.

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