Makhosandile Zulu
2 minute read
2 Sep 2019
12:43 pm

‘Political and external interference’ undermined NPA’s integrity, Nxasana tells Zondo

Makhosandile Zulu

The former NDPP says the interference also served to erode public confidence in the organisation. 

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 Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Mxolisi Nxasana has said that during his time in office as the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP), political and external interference and a failure to act against now disgraced former NPA officials Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi had an adverse effect on the NPA.

Nxasana was testifying again on Monday at the commission of inquiry into state capture chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

He said political and external interference in decision making at the NPA “undermined its integrity and effectiveness and served to erode public confidence in the organisation”.

“And also the failure to act decisively against advocates Jiba and Mrwebi in particular harmed the organisation and in my view the parliamentary committee on justice did little or nothing to exercise appropriate oversight or to intervene in the issues and, chair, I stress, in the issues concerning advocates Jiba and Mrwebi, at least while I was at the office,” Nxasana said.

He had told the commission that an inquiry into the NPA, which Jiba and Mrwebi did not want to cooperate with, resulted in criminal charges being brought against the two advocates.

These recommendations were reportedly forwarded to the minister of justice and correctional services at the time, Michael Masutha, and later former president Jacob Zuma, however, the latter party did not act on this and did not give any reasons for failing to do so.

Zondo said that at the conclusion of the commission when he makes his recommendations, these would include measures that must be taken to ensure that parliament according performs its oversight role if found it had failed to do so.

Nxasana also told the commission that at the time he vacated the office after a settlement agreement was signed, which saw him receive a R17 million golden handshake for doing so, he was at an advanced stage of reviewing a matter involving Durban-based businessman Thoshan Panday.

“Unfortunately, at the time I left I had not taken the decision to reinstate the charges against Mr Panday,” Nxasana said.

In 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled Zuma had abused his powers when he used a R17 million golden handshake to get rid of Nxasana and appoint Shaun Abrahams instead.

The court ruled the payment was unlawful and ordered Nxasana to repay R10 million, which was the amount he received after tax, however, Nxasana told Zondo that he did not have the money to pay it back.

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