‘NPA boss probe must be open to the public’

2014-07-08 00:00

CAPE TOWN — The investigation into Mxolisi Nxasana’s fitness for the post of national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) must not take place behind closed doors, former speaker Dr Frene Ginwala said yesterday.

Ginwala is a senior member of the ANC and a member of the party’s integrity commission.

“Just as with the investigation [into advocate Vusi Pikoli’s fitness for the role] that I led, this investigation must be open so that the public can see what happens.

“Everything must be in the open. It must show it is objective and not political. People have to see for themselves how the decision is reached.”

The presidency announced on Saturday that an investigation in terms of the National Prosecuting Authority Act will be instituted to ascertain if Nxasana is fit to be NDPP.

It is expected that Nxasana will soon be suspended and an acting NDPP will be ­appointed.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said yesterday that Nxasana, who was on leave until next Monday, is still in his post. He could not give more details of the planned investigation.

NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said the NPA is waiting for the presidency to make the next move.

Former Justice minister Jeff Radebe asked Nxasana last month to resign after he failed to disclose when he was vetted for a security clearance that he had once stood trial for murder. Nxasana, who was acquitted, declined.

The NPA Act provides that the president can suspend the NDPP pending the investigation and fire him if the investigation finds him unfit for the post.

The Ginwala commission undertook a similar probe of former NDPP Pikoli and found that he should be restored to his post. He was nevertheless fired by acting president Kgalema Motlanthe. Pikoli fought the decision in court, but ultimately accepted a settlement.

Constitutional expert Professor Pierre de Vos said the president may appoint anyone to lead the investigation.

“In theory, it could be an ANC member, a judge, a journalist, but it will have to be someone who is perceived to be reasonably independent. The person will have to make a factual finding and compile a report.”

Nxasana is the sixth NDPP in less than 10 years.

De Vos said this has caused instability. “It is bad for public perception and the NPA’s credibility.”

There is an open struggle between senior NPA members, apparently arising from the decision to drop 783 charges of corruption against President Jacob ­Zuma when spy tapes emerged that compromised the case.

Nxasana alleges that some colleagues are mounting a political conspiracy against him following rumours that he wants to reinstate the Zuma case.

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