JOHANNESBURG: The highest court in the land on Monday found that former President Jacob Zuma’s decision to remove Mxolisi Nxasana as the NPA boss as an abuse of power and unconstitutional.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga ruled that he must pay back the millions he received as a golden handshake and reaffirmed the finding that Advocate Shaun Abrahams’ appointment is invalid.
According to the Independent Political Analyst, Molifi Tshabalala, “Mxolisi Nxasana’s fall started when the rumour mill had it that he wanted to reinstate the charges against the former President Jacob Zuma, who had done all he could to avoid his day in a court of law.”
“At the time of the rumour mill, Nxasana had been pushing for Zuma to suspend his deputy Nomcobo Jiba and her partner-in-crime Lawrence Mwebi and institute an inquiry into their fitness to hold their respective offices in relation to Richard Mdluli and former Hawks KwaZulu-Natal boss Johan Booysen, to which Zuma had been dragging his feet. Instead, he was gunning for him.”
“This left Zuma without a choice but to get rid of Nxasana at all costs, threatening to institute an inquiry into his fitness to hold office if he does not accept a settlement package, which the Court has found that it exceeded an amount he would have gotten had he served his full ten-year term of office,” he said.
Nxasana said it was apparent that Zuma wanted to get rid of him much like his persecutor Vusi Pikoli.
“Succumbing to pressure, Nxasana ultimately accepted the R17 million settlement offer, which the Courts have declared constitutionally invalid and ordered that he should pay back R10 million,” he said.
Former NDPP Vusi Pikoli was removed in his position after a settlement agreement was reached.
His name is also punted among those who are set to replace Abrahams along with former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, and former NPA chief prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach’s have been mentioned as possible replacements.
However, for Tshabalala “it would be an own goal for Ramaphosa to appoint any of them.”
Tshabalala went further to say that, like Pikoli, Nxasana is not eligible to retain the position of the NDPP. Tshabalala thinks that for accepting the settlement offer, Nxasana and Pikoli have partaken in an ‘illegal act’.
“For his acceptance of the settlement offer, the court found that Nxasana had partaken in an illegal act and thus his reinstatement as NDPP may lead to President Cyril Ramaphosa instituting his fitness to hold office,” Tshabalala said.
As for Pikoli, he also accepted an R8 million settlement package from Zuma, which essentially compromises him, as did to Nxasana.
Madonsela and Bretenchacht factor
Tshabalala believes that “Breytenbach had her own problems within the NPA. Insofar as I know, the NPA still has a case against him. Her appointment, therefore, may be seen as going to stifle investigations, if any, against her own case. In fact, as the NDPP she cannot decide on her own case.”
“In addition, some ANC members may view her appointment as Ramaphosa setting them up against an opposition leader,” he said.
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“While Mandonsela may be a new broom sweep clean scenario at the NPA, she is more of an investigator than a prosecutor; she would have been good for Hawks head. More so, given that a successful prosecution depends on an investigation,” he added.
Meanwhile, the appointment of Dr Silas Ramaite’s as the acting head of the NPA has not gone down well with the Democratic Alliance (DA). In a statement issued out on Tuesday, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Glynnis Breytenbach questioned Ramaite’s fitness for the job, citing his stance in 2004 where he defended former NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka’s decision not prosecute former president Jacob Zuma – then deputy president – on corruption charges.
Ramaite has been deputy NDPP for 15 years since he was appointed by then-president Thabo Mbeki. In his time at the NPA, he has served under a succession of Heads such as Nomgcobo Jiba, Nxasana, and Abrahams.
Breytenbach slammed him for not acting while the integrity of the institution was being destroyed.
“His track record proves that, at best, he is weak, vacillating and pliable,” said Breytenbach.
The DA called on Ramaphosa to appoint a new NDPP and involve Parliament in the selection process.