President Jacob Zuma has communicated his intention to suspend the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Mxolisi Nxasana. According to presidential spokesman, Mac Maharaj, Zuma is considering suspending Nxasana on full pay pending an investigation into his fitness to hold office. He said the details of the inquiry are being finalised and would be communicated to him in due course.
Mxolisi Nxasana was appointed to the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions earlier in 2014 and it immediately emerged that he could not be given a full security clearance, a basic requirement for the position to which he had been appointed. The reasons for the reluctance to issue him with this security clearance later emanated from the fact that he had not disclosed his earlier brushes with the law. Nxasana is said to have stood trial for a murder in 1985 and was however, acquitted. When he was disclosing, he did not mention this and that is where the problem starts from. He is being accused of deliberately misleading those that were considering his security clearance. Consequently, many have called for his suspension, with other hardliners even calling for his dismissal.
When contacted to comment on the news that Nxasana had been suspended following a report in the New Age newspaper, the National Prosecutions Authority disputed the fact that he had been suspended and said that the reason why he was not in office on Friday was that he was attending a funeral. However, they later made an about turn when the spokesperson for the Authority, Nathi Mncube, said in a statement that Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, Willie Hofmeyr would be acting in his place.
The huge furore over Nxasana’s fitness to hold office based on the fact that he had not disclosed his past brushes with the law seems to have raised more dust than it has settled. Eyewitness News recently reported that there are claims and allegations that this is just the tip of the iceberg of power struggles within the NPA, which are said to range from failed racial transformation through political factionalism to the disappearance of a rhino horn. More, it seems, will emerge within this sensitive organisation as more and more allegations and counter-allegations are thrown around.