Former national director of public prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana. Picture: Screengrab

Johannesburg - Former national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Mxolisi Nxasana has told the Zondo commission that former president Jacob Zuma was on a “fishing” expedition to find reasons why he was not fit to hold the top prosecuting job. 

Nxasana was concluding his testimony at the Zondo commission on Monday. He has appeared numerous times at the inquiry testifying about his short stint as the NDPP. He was appointed in 2013. 

The former NDPP explained the reasons brought by Zuma to institute an inquiry into his fitness to hold office. 

In 2015, the former president appeared determined, according to Nxasana, to remove him from his position as NDPP. 

Zuma had informed Nxasana that he planned to institute an inquiry into his fitness to hold office. The terms of the inquiry would include: his two previous separate convictions of assault; the complaints of professional misconduct laid against him with the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society; him having faced criminal charges for acts of violence; his arrest and detention on criminal charges; issuing and/or making media statements and/or causing media statements to be issued that undermine or bring the office of the NDPP or the National Prosecuting Authority into disrepute and any other matters as may be relevant. 

Nxasana told the commission that Zuma's complaints had "unintended consequences" because his children now knew he had some "brushes with the law". 

"I am a family man and I have kids. It was humiliating," he said. 

“My view was that the president was just on a fishing expedition, trying to get something against me to justify the commission of inquiry into my fitness to hold office,” Nxasana said. 

The inquiry, which was to be headed by Advocate Nazeer Cassim, did not go ahead and instead, Zuma told him that they could negotiate his package if he resigned. Nxasana said he had insisted that he be paid out the remainder of his contract if he resigned. 

When asked by evidence leader Advocate Paul Pretorius who had been the first to bring up the matter of him resigning, Nxasana said it was former justice minister Jeff Radebe. 

Nxasana said he remained adamant that he would not resign. He said at the meeting with Radebe he insisted he would not resign and also did the same in a letter the next day. Radebe did not respond to his letter. 

Nxasana received R17 million to vacate the office. The Constitutional Court last year found that his removal was unlawful and stated that he should pay back R10 million. 

Nxasana said he did not “put a gun to anyone's head” demanding that he be paid the money. He said he felt entitled to a payout as his employer, Zuma, had insisted that he resign. 

When asked by commission chair deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo if he had paid back the money, Nxasana said he had not done so. 

The former NDPP also related the court case brought by NGO organisations Freedom Under Law and Corruption Watch. 

The two groups approached the courts to challenge Nxasana’s removal. He told the commission that he had been approached by Zuma’s lawyer Michael Hulley and asked if he could join the president’s case. 

He had been promised a legal affidavit. Nxasana said days passed and he was later told by a journalist that Zuma had filed court papers stating that he had resigned from his job of his own accord. 

Nxasana said this argument angered him as he had never wanted to resign and that it was Zuma who insisted that he resign. 

The former NDPP has concluded his evidence at the inquiry. 

The commission will now hear evidence from the SABC on state capture related matters.

IOL