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Johannesburg - In one of his first major decisions, newly appointed prosecutions boss Mxolisi Nxasana has appealed against a court decision ordering the SAPS to reinstate criminal charges of corruption, murder and kidnapping, and disciplinary steps, against suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
Opposition MPs on Tuesday said they regretted this decision, which emerged in discussions of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) 2012/13 annual report, but added that the processes needed to run their course. The ANC said it could not comment as the matter was now before the courts again.
Last month, Pretoria High Court Judge John Murphy ordered the reinstatement “without delay”of fraud, corruption and murder charges against Mdluli – related to crime intelligence monies and a 1999 murder linked to a love triangle – which had been controversially withdrawn towards the end of 2011.
The judge also ordered police to bring disciplinary charges.
Mdluli was initially suspended in early 2011, but returned to work after the criminal charges were dropped only to be suspended again in early 2012 following the court challenge by lobby group Freedom Under Law.
DA MP and justice spokeswoman Dene Smuts pointed out that at the start of on Tuesday’s committee meeting Nxasana said he needed time to apply his mind to the judgment delivered last month in the Pretoria High Court. Then, during the committee’s question time, Nxasana said the appeal had just been filed, she added.
Cope MP Luzelle Adams said she was expecting such a decision.
“I was, however, surprised by the fact that questions were asked and he indicated he wanted to take his time to make up his mind. When follow-up questions were asked, all of a sudden he announced the matter is being appealed. I found that a little bit strange,” she said.
African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart said “they are entitled to appeal but it means the whole issue around Mdluli will be delayed again”, which was regrettable.
Justice committee chairman and ANC MP LuwellynLanders said he would not comment on the appeal. However, like fellow MPs, he indicated the NPA acquitted itself well during on Tuesday’s proceedings.
The new national director of public prosecutions was aware there would be no honeymoon period and he needed to hit the ground running, he said.
While Adams said she was giving the new prosecutions boss the benefit of the doubt, “perhaps he was playing his cards close to his chest”, Swart said Nxasana had conducted himself well. “One hopes he’ll bring some stability to the NPA given accusations of political influence and its dire financial situation,” Swart said.
Added Smuts: “Mr Nxasana twice asserted the need to restore the credibility and integrity of the NPA. He has walked into the eye of the storm, and despite the change of position during (Tuesday’s) hearings, made a favourable impression.”
On Tuesday, it also emerged that the NPA had requested an additional R897 million over the next three years – but apparently could only expect to receive R27m more when the medium-term budget policy statement is announced later this month.
Landers said the committee needed to have “a very careful look” at this.