Nxasana wins some and loses a cool R10.2m

Former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana enters the Constitutional Court in the Johannesburg, where the court ruled yesterday that the appointment of his successor Shaun Abrahams was unlawful.
Former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana enters the Constitutional Court in the Johannesburg, where the court ruled yesterday that the appointment of his successor Shaun Abrahams was unlawful.
Image: Alaister Russell

Former NPA boss Mxolisi Nxasana walked out of the Constitution Court yesterday seemingly a bewildered man.

On the one hand he was celebrating that the apex court had vindicated him that he did not voluntarily leave the NPA but was placed under immense pressure by former president Jacob Zuma who wanted him gone by all means.

Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, writing on behalf of the Constitutional Court's majority, found that former president Jacob Zuma had used a R17.3-million golden handshake to get rid of Nxasana. The former NPA boss was also delighted that the ConCourt had found that the North Gauteng High Court was wrong not to consider his evidence about his removal, because it was filed too late.

However Nxasana also found himself on the losing side after the ConCourt ordered him to pay back R10.2-million of his R17.3-million settlement deal. The R7.1-million was retained for taxes.

The ConCourt also said it would not be in the interest of stability at the NPA for Nxasana to be reappointed, as he may well face an inquiry into his fitness for agreeing to the illegal Zuma payout.

Asked if he still had the money and how he planned to pay it back, Nxasana said he was a loser in this regard.

"I had to live, I haven't been working for the whole three years. I think that is a decision we have to engage on how I pay [back] that money.

"I have to go back to practice. It's been very tough because from the time I left the office there were these application.

"For three years my life has been hanging, I didn't know what to do... but I couldn't go back full time to the profession to do what I had to do."

He bemoaned that the judgment overlooked the fact that when he came into office as NPA head he had built up a practice for more than 16 years.

"I had to give up my practice to serve at the NPA. Inasmuch as I'm vindicated and the constitution has been vindicated but I'm the loser [because] I've been ordered to pay back the settlement." 

Messy exits common 

The position of national director of public prosecutions has seemingly become a poisoned chalice, with many of the former holders of the post having left unceremoniously.

Mxolisi Nxasana and Shaun Abrahams were not the only ones to see the intervention of the highest court in the land pronouncing on their futures as heads of the troubled organisation. The court had also found the appointment of Menzi Simelane invalid in 2012.

Vusi Pikoli was suspended in September 2007 by former-president Thabo Mbeki and subsequently fired, while Bulelani Ngcuka resigned in 2004. 

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