Nxasana inquiry chair 'will act independently'

Advocate Nazeer Cassim is perceived to be close to President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer.

NPA spokesperson Mxolisi Nxasana. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The chairperson of the inquiry into National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Mxolisi Nxasana on Friday said he will act independently and will not allow any relationships with people in the Presidency to affect his judgment.

President Jacob Zuma on Thursday evening announced that Advocate Nazeer Cassim would chair the inquiry.

A probe into Nxasana was announced six months ago after it emerged he'd failed to disclose that he was charged and acquitted of murder.

Cassim says he will be objective in his findings.

"In the end, it goes to one's own integrity and conscience. In life, you've got to do the right thing and you got to abstain from doing the wrong thing. I have no reason not to do what I'm supposed to do and that is to apply my mind to the facts and apply the law to the facts."

The advocate said it would be disturbing if his recommendations were not accepted.

Cassim, an experienced senior advocate, says he has chaired many inquiries during his career and generally, his recommendations are accepted.

"If the person who appoints you doesn't accept your recommendation then generally speaking, there's a breakdown in the process. Once you're appointed, the person who appoints you has to trust and rely on your judgment."

The only real criticism is his perceived closeness to Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley.

But Cassim says this is not an issue.

"I don't think any relationship should influence me one way or the other."