'No plans to fire Nxasana'

The NPA boss was refused a high-level security clearance last week.

National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - There are no plans to ask National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Mxolisi Nxasana to step down, newly-appointed Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha said on Monday.

It emerged last week that the prosecutions boss, who was appointed to lead the NPA last year, was refused a high-level security clearance because of previous brushes with the law.

These include being tried for murder in the 1980s, though he was later acquitted on the grounds of self-defence, and accusations of nepotism and serious traffic offences.

Nxasana, determined to keep his job, says he will not step aside and has indicated he will take the matter to court if he is fired.

Minister Masutha says he is taking the issue seriously and will meet with President Jacob Zuma before taking it further.

His spokesperson Lawrence Ngoveni says he is currently familiarising himself with the facts.

"Of course in that process he will have to interact with the president," he says.

"Remember, the National Director of Public Prosecutions is appointed by the president."

Meanwhile, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS)'s Gareth Newham says full vetting should have been carried out on Nxasana before his appointment.

"There would have been plenty of time to do background checks and ensure that the person being appointed was scandal free [but] that didn't happen."