Nxasana has his work cut out

2013-09-29 14:00

Monday was a tough day in the North Gauteng High Court for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Judge John Murphy delivered an extraordinarily stinging judgment, in which he said Lawrence Mrwebi, head of the NPA’s Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit, “probably invented” an explanation as to why he dropped corruption charges against suspended police intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

Murphy also ruled that Mrwebi’s boss at the time, acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba, failed in her constitutional duty by remaining “supine” in the face of the public outcry over Mdluli.

He found that Jiba failed in a constitutional duty to be “responsive, accountable and transparent”.

The judge also reinstated criminal charges and disciplinary action against Mdluli.

His judgment was an astonishing and embarrassingly public indictment of the NPA’s leadership, and should sound alarm bells in the corridors of political power.

Unfortunately, it probably won’t. The NPA is widely considered to be too open to political meddling and interference, its bosses perceived to be currying political favour and its potency where it matters most – in the courtroom – questionable at best.

The new national director of public prosecutions, Mxolisi Nxasana, has a tough job ahead of him. If he wants to start mending broken fences, his first duty must be to prosecute Mdluli – without fear or favour.

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