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The President lied under oath – Prosecutor

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For Zuma, it is not just raining, it is pouring!

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By Anthony Opara

 

With the heat still building over his governance record, the former Chief Prosecutor or National Director of Public Prosecutions in South Africa, Mxolisi Nxasana, has claimed that President Jacob Zuma lied under oath about him willingly leaving office in return for a R17m settlement agreement.

“The president’s version in this regard is false. To be crystal clear, I never requested that the president allow me to vacate the office of the NDPP,” said Nxasana under oath.

Zuma had been caught in the middle of a storm over his capacity to remain in office with continuing protests for his resignation and a planned no-confidence vote yet in the offing and this new revelation would also clearly not help him.

According to his deposition and contrary to Zuma’s claims, Nxasana said he entered into the agreement to settle what he considered to be an “intractable, undesirable and ongoing dispute” between himself, Zuma and then Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.

He also considered the agreement as an attempt to protect the integrity of the NDPP office.

“To this day I maintain that I am fit and proper to hold the office of NDPP and would serve again.”

The revelation forms part of an explanatory affidavit he filed on Wednesday, in a civil case by Corruption Watch and Freedom Under Law, to have the pay-out reviewed.

He was not opposing the relief they sought.

In May 2015, a commission of inquiry into Nxasana’s fitness to hold office was called off at the last minute by Zuma’s office and it was later reported that Nxasana had received a R17m settlement to leave.

The payment was said to be in lieu of his agreement to relinquish the post and to withdraw his court action against the president and justice minister, challenging his suspension.

The amount is what he would have earned had he served his full 10 year term of office, from August 2013.

No reason was given for Nxasana’s departure and he was replaced by Advocate Shaun Abrahams.

At the time, Zuma’s office said that Nxasana was professionally competent and possessed the experience and integrity needed to hold a senior position.

Nxasana said that in his first year of office, it became clear that the NPA’s Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi did not approve of his leadership.

“I later established that they had run a campaign to discredit me as a person fit and proper to hold the office of the NDPP,” he said in the affidavit.

He also believed that the two advised Zuma that he intended to reinstate the criminal charges against him that his predecessor had withdrawn.

Nxasana said he knew he would have been found fit and proper by the inquiry but doubted that it would have resolved the dispute regarding his leadership.

He had also seen what had happened to his predecessors.

“They became involved in lengthy, acrimonious and expensive litigation and endured well-publicised personal attacks, all while their tenure at the NDPP was made untenable.”

He said this adversely affected the integrity of the NDPP office, the NPA and them personally.

Corruption Watch and Freedom under Law argue that the settlement agreement and the decision to authorise it were unlawful and unconstitutional, and should therefore be declared invalid and set aside by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The organisations sought an order that Nxasana refund any money paid to him in terms of the agreement.

They submitted that Nxasana should still hold the office of the NDPP and that, due to Zuma’s “conflict of interest” over charges withdrawn against him, his appointment of Abrahams should be declared unlawful.

 

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa

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