Golden handshake for Simelane?

There are fears that millions could be spent on former NDPP Menzi Simelane.

There are fears that millions could be spent to former NDPP Menzi Simelane.

JOHANNESBURG - A possible decision by government to pay former National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Menzi Simelane a golden handshake settlement was questioned on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development confirmed that Simelane's salary was stopped.

In October, the Constitutional Court confirmed a judgment by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that the appointment of Simelane as NDPP was invalid.

The application was brought forward by the Democratic Alliance, which said President Jacob Zuma's decision to hire Simelane to lead the National Prosecuting Authority was invalid because of the Ginwala Commission.

Simelane had made submissions to the commission, which was set by former president Thabo Mbeki to probe then NDPP Vusi Pikoli's fitness to hold office.

At the time, Simelane was Director General of the justice department.

Inquiry chair Frene Ginwala felt that Simelane's submissions were dishonest.

The Democratic Alliance said it was concerned that a settlement could cost the South African public millions of rand.

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said paying Simelane a 'golden handshake' would be scandalous.

"In terms of the Constitution, if something is ruled invalid it is invalid from the moment it occurred. So it is as if [Simelane] was never appointed by the NPA."

Department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said there were many processes with legal implications underway, so no decisions had been made as yet.

"Indeed, his salary has been stopped. The contractual issues that relate to his appointment and its termination are still being addressed."