Justice Minister Michael Masutha says he did not take part in negotiating the "obscene" R17 million golden handshake paid out to Mxolisi Nxasana. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Johannesburg - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha says he did not take part in negotiating the "obscene" R17 million golden handshake paid out to Mxolisi Nxasana. 

Masutha's name has been linked to the settlement signed by Nxasana and former president Jacob Zuma, where the former national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) received an R17 million deal to vacate office. 

A Constitutional Court judgment delivered on Monday said Zuma had abused his power in negotiating for Nxasana's departure. It said the manner in which Nxasana left office was illegal as well as the R17 million golden handshake he received. It was unconstitutional for Shaun Abrahams to be appointed as NDPP, the court ruled. 

The court found that it would not be just for Nxasana to return to his job and that it was also not possible for Abrahams to stay on as the head of the NPA. 

Masutha on Tuesday denied any involvement in negotiating the settlement and said his role was only administrative in support of Zuma - as the head of state. 

"Our role was an administrative role in that matter. Because if a minister of justice refused to do certain duties for a head of state, you'd be impeding the head of state from their duties. I was not a party to those negotiations and don't know how those numbers were arrived at. My role was administrative in nature. Mine is to perform my job to the best of my ability," said Masutha.

The apex court ordered that President Cyril Ramaphosa should appoint a new NDPP within 90 days. Another order was that Nxasana should pay back the R10 million he received from the settlement.  

Ramaphosa is expected to announce an acting NDPP later on Tuesday. Masutha declined to comment on which candidates the president was considering. 

"I will not preempt the president's announcement. The law says the president should consult with us. I cannot preempt a statement from the presidency," said the minister.