Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

7 July 2014

South Africa: Nxasana Inquiry - While Questions Abound, Answers Do Not

analysis

On Saturday afternoon the Presidency announced that President Jacob Zuma had decided to institute an inquiry into whether Mxolisi Nxasana was fit to hold the office of National Director of Public Prosecutions, a move that was not unexpected.

Nxasana has been accused of not properly disclosing his criminal record before being appointed and, we're told, was not given Top Secret clearance as a result. But the timing of this announcement, the context in which it occurred, and the fact that clearly in this country control of the prosecutorial machinery is politics through other means, means there are far more questions than answers. And there are serious questions, which will now almost certainly never be answered.

The decision to institute an inquiry such as this is not one that a sitting president should take lightly. The NDPP Chief is a person who sits at the apex of the entire justice system; they are appointed for one non-renewable ten-year term. The mechanism for ejecting them is complicated: they can be suspended by the president, who must then institute an inquiry. That inquiry investigates, makes a recommendation, and then it all goes to Parliament. The previous time this happened, when...

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