Zuma gives Mxolisi Nxasana inquiry the green light

2015-01-31 14:10

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The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will soon be the next law enforcement authority to find itself plunged into uncertainty and without a permanent head.

City Press has learnt that President Jacob Zuma informed the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Mxolisi Nxasana, last Friday that an inquiry into his fitness to hold office would go ahead.

Nxasana has had a potential suspension and inquiry hanging over his head since August, but it now appears that the presidency has not bought his submission that he is the victim of a smear campaign by a faction of the NPA loyal to his deputy and former acting head, Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba.

A senior government source with knowledge of the exchange has confirmed that the Presidency notified Nxasana last Friday that the inquiry would go ahead.

Another source with knowledge of the matter would only say “the inquiry seems likely” but that the details were only known to a few people.

If Zuma decides to suspend Nxasana pending the inquiry, the police would be the only remaining law enforcement authority in SA with a permanent head.

In response to questions from City Press on Friday, Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj today issued a statement confirming that the inquiry was indeed going ahead.

“President Jacob Zuma is proceeding with the inquiry into the fitness of the NDPP, Mr Mxolisi Nxasana, to hold office and has requested that such an inquiry should proceed expeditiously in order to resolve such a matter, which is no doubt of paramount public interest,” said Maharaj.

The move against Nxasana comes against a backdrop of allegations of political meddling in SA’s law enforcement agencies, with a bitter feud between the Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko and the Helen Suzman Foundation over the suspension of Hawks head Anwa Dramat playing itself out in the North Gauteng High Court and the Constitutional Court this week.

It also follows months of turbulence at the South African Revenue Service, which has been described as a “witch hunt”, and the resignation of Special Investigatibg Unit head Vas Soni for personal reasons.

At the NPA, it would appear that Jiba has already learnt Nxasana’s days are numbered.

A senior NPA source, who is sympathetic to Nxasana, said “Jiba is going around telling people there that this guy (Nxasana) was supposed to be suspended today or this weekend.”

Nxasana and Jiba have been at loggerheads since the former took the top job.

When allegations emerged that Nxasana could not get a security clearance because of past brushes with the law, he blamed this on a smear campaign conducted against him by Jiba.

In a further development, City Press has also learnt that the investigating officer in a perjury case involving Jiba, Special Commercialised Crimes Unit head Lawrence Mrwebi and Sibongile Mzinyathi, the director of provincial prosecutions for North Gauteng, has been ordered by controversial acting Hawks head Bennie Ntlemeza to hand over the docket.

This happened just hours after the Hawks investigating officer Theunis de Klerk, took warning statements from them, one of the final steps in a criminal investigation.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told City Press that the NPA, which had the docket at the time of the request, has handed it over.

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