Mixed response to Nxasana inquiry

The president plans to institute an inquiry into the NPA head's fitness to hold office.

NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma's decision to institute an inquiry into National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana's fitness for office has been welcomed by several organisations.

The president unveiled plans to establish the inquiry on Saturday following claims that Nxasana was denied 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.

But others have questioned whether the timing of this decision has anything to do with former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

Former prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach claims this decision may be due to suggestions he was looking at re-instituting criminal charges against Mdluli and possibly even Zuma himself.

Breytenbach says this inquiry may have been instituted because Nxasana has been too independent.

"There are strong rumours that he is reconsidering his prosecution of the president."

But the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution's Lawson Naidoo says the inquiry is necessary.

"Whatever political machinations that may be taking place behind the scenes shouldn't be allowed to detract from the very important principle that the head of the NPA has to be a robustly independent person."

There's still no clarity from the presidency about whether Nxasana has actually been suspended but it's understood he hasn't received a letter of suspension.