News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
21 Nov 2017
7:01 am

‘Shaun has done nothing wrong’

Ilse de Lange

But rights organisations want Abrahams out and R17.3m settlement repaid.

The High Court in Pretoria has expressed concern about a bid by rights organisations to reinstate Mxolisi Nxasana as national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) and to oust Shaun Abrahams, “who has done nothing wrong”.

Referring to a 2015 settlement agreement between President Jacob Zuma and Nxasana in terms of which he received a golden handshake of R17.3 million in exchange for vacating his position, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo wanted to know from Matthew Chaskalson, counsel for Corruption Watch, if Abrahams was not the victim of an unlawful decision.

“What will happen to the current NDPP? There is a seated NDPP and he is innocent. He has done nothing wrong. Mr Abrahams was appointed in a supposed vacant position. “Nxasana named his price. He said ‘I didn’t want to go. I’ll only go if you pay me’ and he got his price. On a purely fairness basis, how can you oust Mr Abrahams?” Judge Mlambo wanted to know.

Chaskalson argued if Nxasana’s removal was unconstitutional, Abrahams’ appointment must be voided as one could not be appointed in an occupied position.

Corruption Watch, Freedom Under Law and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution want the court to set aside Nxasana’s removal from office and order him to repay the R17.3 million golden handshake he received.

They also want the court to declare that Nxasana still holds office.

In addition, they have asked the court to declare that Zuma has a conflict of interest as he faces criminal charges and that he may not take decisions relating to the appointment, removal or suspension of an NDPP.

The court yesterday turned down Nxasana’s answering affidavit – filed more than a year late – in which he contradicted the president’s claim that he had asked to resign because of conflict within the NPA.

Chaskalson argued it was contrary to public policy to allow the president to get rid of a troublesome NDPP by offering him an obscene amount of public money.

He said the settlement with Nxasana was clearly invalid and even the president admitted it.

– ilsedl@citizen.co.za

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