Inside the plot to oust Mxolisi Nxasana

2014-06-08 15:00

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A senior Hawks officer has been named as the central figure in a plot to end Mxolisi Nxasana’s days as head of the prosecuting authority.

In return, it was rumoured that Colonel Welcome “WS” Mhlongo, a Hawks officer who was seconded to the missing persons task team of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), was promised a promotion to brigadier by police officers aligned to former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

Three senior NPA sources have confirmed to City Press that Mhlongo’s secondment to the NPA was terminated late last year after it emerged that he had been tasked with digging up dirt on Nxasana before the newly appointed prosecutions boss had even moved into his office.

Mhlongo has denied the allegations but two sources said that Mhlongo was close to Nxasana’s predecessor, former ­acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba, who was said to be furious that she was not permanently appointed as the national ­director of public prosecutions.

Both Jiba and Mhlongo previously worked for the Scorpions before the elite unit was disbanded.

Jiba also has links with Mdluli, who submitted a fiery ­affidavit to help Jiba fight off her own suspension from the NPA in 2009.

Nxasana alluded to what was called “Jiba’s accomplice” in an interview with The Sunday Independent, in which he said he had collected affidavits about the attempts to dig up dirt on him.

A senior NPA source said that it was Mhlongo who ­unearthed the information about Nxasana being acquitted of murder 28 years ago.

The fact that Nxasana did not disclose his murder acquittal led to him being contacted by former justice minister Jeff Radebe, who asked him to resign.

This was despite intelligence sources saying that a murder acquittal should not have prevented someone from obtaining a security clearance and would not have had to be disclosed on an application for a security clearance.

But Mhlongo’s inquiries apparently went much further than the murder case, with another source telling City Press that he was also asking questions about Nxasana’s personal life.

Mhlongo was assisted in his inquiries by two other police officers, both of whom have also been sent back to the Hawks.

Sean Abrahams, acting head of the NPA’s priority crimes litigation unit, confirmed that three members of the SA Police Service (SAPS) had their secondment terminated but refused to comment on the circumstances under which this ­happened.

A top NPA source also said Mhlongo had apparently boasted about the plot against Nxasana at the NPA’s offices in KwaZulu-Natal, triumphantly proclaiming: “Jiba is back.”

Mhlongo has denied these allegations.

City Press can also reveal that Radebe apparently recommended to President Jacob Zuma that he should appoint Jiba and not Nxasana. But Zuma opted for Nxasana.

An NPA source aligned with Nxasana accused Jiba of attempting to run the NPA as if she were still its director, keeping control of politically sensitive cases like the Mdluli matter.

Nxasana on Friday told the Mail & Guardian that he had requested the case files from Jiba, but had still not received them.

Mhlongo has denied that he ever conducted any investigation into Nxasana.

“I was doing the cases that involve those people killed ­during apartheid?...?Nxasana did not disappear. He is not a victim.”

Asked why his secondment was terminated, Mhlongo said he did not know.

“I was just told by Sean [Abrahams] that I have to go back to [the police], that they [the NPA] don’t require my services any more.”

Attempts to contact Jiba for comment were unsuccessful. Nxasana declined a request for him to comment on the matter.

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