Pretoria - In a desperate bid to save his job, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Mxolisi Nxasana, has turned to the North Gauteng High Court for an urgent order preventing President Jacob Zuma from suspending him before he has the chance to make representations to the president.
Nxasana said in papers before Judge Joseph Raulinga that he had been told by Zuma he would be suspended pending an inquiry into his fitness to hold office. He was told to make representations as to why he should not be suspended.
Nxasana said he needed further particulars on the allegations against him and without these he could not properly fight his case. He said he had asked the president on numerous occasions to furnish him with such particulars, but to date had received nothing.
Nxasana said time was running out for him, as he knew the president was empowered to suspend him pending an inquiry. However, he feels there are not sufficient grounds for this.
As he heard that he may have been suspended on Wednesday, he said he had no choice but to go to court.
“I have done everything possible to avoid having to approach the court.
“Despite reminding the president on three occasions of the fact that he has not provided me with sufficient particulars, and that I require them to make proper representations, he refuses to provide them.”
Zuma earlier this month gave notice to Nxasana that he intended suspending him with full pay pending an inquiry into his fitness to hold office. He was given the opportunity to make written representations in this regard.
While Nxasana’s spokesman, Nathi Mncube, declined to comment on anything relating to the matter on Wednesday, Zuma’s lawyer, Michael Hulley, told the Pretoria News the matter was postponed indefinitely in a bid to see whether they could come to some agreement.
“The matter was postponed with a view to the parties engaging in discussions to see if the applicant’s request could be accommodated without a court application being necessitated,” he said.
Commenting on the same issue, Zuma’s spokesman, Mac Maharaj, said: “All matters relating to the inquiry into the fitness to hold office of the NDPP are still being attended to and an announcement will be made when all the processes are concluded.”
But Nxasana said that to be able to offer proper representations, he needed the president to provide him with particulars as to the reasons for the inquiry. “He (the president) refers to the ‘criminal conviction I possess for violent conduct’. The president does not give particulars of the criminal convictions to which this allegation refers.”
Nxasana said the president indicated that the inquiry would investigate “reported comments in the media” which he contends are unbecoming of an NDPP, are divisive and have the effect of bringing the NPA into disrepute.
“The president does not give particulars of the comments.”
The inquiry will also consider whether he is fit to hold office due to his lack of disclosure of the facts regarding prosecutions which he had faced.
“To require me to speculate about the essential particulars of allegations against me is unfair… As I don’t have the essential particulars of the allegations against me, I cannot say whether they are true or sufficiently serious to warrant suspension.”
Nxasana said he had repeatedly written to Zuma to ask for an extension in which to make proper representations, as he was required to make these by August 1.
As he had not received a response, he met the deadline as he did not want to be seen to be ignoring the president, but felt that due to the “tremendous pressure” he was under, his preliminary representations were inadequate and incomplete. Zuma subsequently gave him until August 8 to supplement these representations, but Nxasana said the letter made no mention of the further particulars he needed in order to do so.
Nxasana said he wrote to the Presidency that he would be forced to approach the court if he did not receive the particulars. As the president was out of the country last week, Nxasana held off from heading to court.
He subsequently received a response from the president, in which he was given until Wednesday to make his final representations. The president refused to provide him with the particulars.
Zuma said the particulars Nxasana wanted would be the subject of the pending inquiry and the particulars supplied to him in the notice were sufficient to make representations.
“In any event, it appears apparent from your initial response that you are well aware of the matters to which I refer,” Zuma said in the response.
In his court bid, Nxasana said the matter was extremely urgent as he was likely to be suspended soon.
The president did not file any opposing papers and the matter was postponed indefinitely.