‘Nxasana offered R7m to step down’

Mmusi Maimane has reacted in disappointment to a decision by National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss.

FILE: NPA spokesperson Mxolisi Nxasana. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane says South Africans should not be pressurised or intimidated into leaving their positions.

Maimane has reacted in disappointment to a decision by National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Mxolisi Nxasana to step down as the country's prosecutions head.

There is speculation that Zuma offered Nxasana him a settlement agreement of close to R7 million to step down as the country's prosecutions head.

Nxasana was faced with a possible suspension pending an investigation into his ability to hold office but investigations were abruptly dropped earlier this month.

"It's deeply disappointing, we need more South Africans who will stand up even under immense pressure. We must have an administration that is free of any intimidation so that it can do its job, we would like to get a full explanation as to why he departed."

Meanwhile, The Hawks said it has not collected enough evidence to open a formal case against former (NPA) Prosecutor and Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Glynnis Breytenbach.

The investigative unit has appointed a task team to look into allegations that Breytanbach abused her powers while she was prosecutor before her suspension in 2012.

She has been accused of manipulating legal processes to ensure that false charges were brought against a competitor in a tender process.

Spokesperson for the Hawks Hangwani Mulaudzi said, "The investigation is still an inquiry after we received representation from sources of alleged issues of defeating the ends of justice, racketeering and others.

"We are still busy trying to connect all the allegations and once we receive enough evidence we will open a formal docket."

CASSIM: WHY WAS THE INVESTIGATION CALLED OFF?

Advocate Nazeer Cassim says the Presidency must explain to the country why the inquiry into Nxasana was called off at the last minute.

He says the inference is that it is likely a deal was struck between Nxasana and the Presidency at the 11th hour.

Zuma commissioned the inquiry in February after it emerged last year that Nxasana had allegedly failed to disclose that he had previous brushes with the law.

Cassim announced this morning at the start of the public hearings that he received an early morning call telling him to cancel the probe.

He says he would have liked the Presidency to be more responsive in explaining why the inquiry was cancelled.

"It's a public announcement to say I'm establishing a commission of inquiry. If that commission is for any reason terminated without the inquiry having taken place, then clearly there is an onus on the president to clarify the decision."

Cassim met with lawyers for both sides on Saturday to raise issues central to the inquiry.

He suspects they went back to their principles and found a way to strike an agreement to avoid that hearing the inquiry is going ahead.

Meanwhile, the presidency says they are still in talks but has provided no explanation as to the exact reason why the inquiry was called off at the last minute.

Constitutional law expert Shadrack Gutto has warned against yet another golden-handshake for a top public official.

"They are going to pay and our taxes are going to rise because people do not meet proper divisions on who is proper and fit to hold such an important institution in society."

Opposition parties Congress of the People and the DA have asked for a clear explanation as to why the inquiry was stopped.

Gutto said Zuma is probably negotiating a deal to avoid an embarrassing public inquiry.

"The inquiry will do a lot of damage, damage in the sense that it will bring out the truth about the process of appointment of people in such provisions."