Former public prosecutor Gerrie Nel File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
Cape Town - Former public prosecutor Gerrie Nel has asked the public to challenge and freely critique his newly established private prosecutions unit on its political agenda, choice of cases and partiality.

He was speaking at the Cape Town Press Club where he introduced the unit and spoke about why he left public prosecutions to join AfriForum.

Nel, who is known for his tough stance in criminal cases such as the Jackie Selebi corruption trial and the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, launched the unit on AfriForum’s request in February.

He said contrary to speculation, he was not forced to leave the National Prosecuting Authority, where he had been a prosecutor for 35 years.

He also said he was invited by AfriForum to establish and head the unit. He was sceptical at first but decided to take AfriForum’s offer.

“I hate bullies, I hate anyone who uses their power to bully others,” he said.

The unit will have three months to prosecute from the time it acquires a certificate from the NPA. It will only prosecute cases which the NPA chooses not to and would apply to the NPA to take the cases on.

Nel will be working with a team of five members.

He said the unit would work with the utmost integrity and impartiality. He would have accepted the offer if it had come from any other organisation.

“Challenge us on the cases we prosecute,” he said, adding that because cases the unit would prosecute would be those declined or rejected by the NPA, this made the process impossible to influence politically.

He said the unit would receive funding from AfriForum’s 193 000 members.

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