Former president Jacob Zuma wanted to appoint the ex-advisor to former mineral resources minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi as the head of the troubled National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the state capture commission of inquiry heard on Wednesday.
The former advisor, advocate Mahlodi Muofhe, is now the chief governance officer of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU). He told inquiry chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, that he received a letter of appointment on September 30, 2014, to serve on the reference group of then police minister Nathi Nhleko.
He added that it remained a mystery how Nhleko wanted him to be part of the group because he didn't know him.
"I am not sure what informed the decision to invite me," he said. He said the following year, Nhleko requested a meeting with him in Cape Town.
"I flew down to Cape Town and held a meeting with former minister Nhleko in his Cape Town office," he said.
He said Nhleko told him to "ready myself for an audience with the former state president, Mr Zuma, because he wanted to appoint me as director of the troubled NPA".
Muofhe tells Zondo about a meeting with Zuma and Nhleko - he says Zuma opened the discussion on the real reason for the meeting. "He wanted me to go and direct the NPA," Muofhe says. #StateCaptureInquiry @TeamNews24-- Jeanette Chabalala (@J_chabalala) November 28, 2018
He said he finally had a meeting with Zuma and Nhleko.
"The former state president opened the discussion on the real reason for the meeting. He wanted me to go and direct the NPA," Muofhe testified.
He said he was "shocked" by what Zuma had told him.
Muofhe says he was shocked that Zuma wanted to appoint him as director of the NPA. #StateCaptureInquiry@TeamNews24-- Jeanette Chabalala (@J_chabalala) November 28, 2018
He said he asked Zuma why he wanted him to be the head of the NPA and what he would do if he were to personally charge him.
He said Zuma explained to him that former National Director of Public Prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana decided to charge Jiba "unnecessary" and that he was unhappy about that.
Muofhe said he told the former president that it would be better for him to appoint someone from within and that Zuma "warmed up to it greatly".
He also said he told Zuma he has never been a prosecutor and it would be best to appoint somebody with legal background in order to stabilise the NPA.
Nxasana accepted a golden handshake from Zuma worth R17.3m and left the NPA in 2015.
Before that, an inquiry into his fitness to hold office was abruptly halted without explanation. Zuma then appointed Shaun Abrahams to head the NPA.
However, on August 13, Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga found that Zuma's decision to terminate Nxasana position as NDPP was an abuse of power and that Abrahams was a beneficiary of that abuse. Abrahams' appointment was declared unconstitutional.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was given 90 days from the day of the ruling to appoint a new NPA boss.