Former NPA boss Mxolisi Nxasana said he was pleased with Constitutional Court judgment setting aside incumbent head Shaun Abrahams' appointment. Picture: Getrude Makhafola/ANA

Johannesburg - Former National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) boss Mxolisi Nxasana said he was pleased with Monday's Constitutional Court judgment setting aside incumbent head Shaun Abrahams' appointment in 2015.

Nxasana, who was given a R17 million golden handshake to leave the NPA by former president Jacob Zuma, said he was ready to pay back the money as directed by the Constitutional Court.

"I am happy with the judgment, it comes after the high court rejected my condonation application...I am vindicated today, the court has heard my version and accepted it. I am willing to pay back the money as directed by the Constitutional Court," he told journalists outside the Constitutional Court.

"It is now more than three years [since leaving the NPA] and I was subjected to the humiliation at the time, I came to accept what happened...as you heard Justice [Mbuyiseli "Russel"] Madlanga said he felt sorry for me regarding the manner in which I was treated."

The North Gauteng High Court refused Nxasana condonation to file a late affidavit which he said contained his version of the events leading up to him leaving the NPA. The affidavit was filed very late, long after Freedom Under Law (FUL), Corruption Watch and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) filed papers seeking Abrahams' appointment to be set aside.

Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga granted Nxasana his condonation appeal, but ruled that he cannot return to the NPA.

"Although the explanation for the delay is weak, Mr Nxasana is strong on the merits of what the explanatory affidavit was, in the main, meant to achieve --that is to counter former president Zuma’s version. For me, another factor that should count in Mr Nxasana’s favour is that, although he delayed in filing his own affidavit, he expended time and effort towards the compilation of a proper rule 53 record and was thus of great assistance not only to Corruption Watch and FUL but to the court as well," Madlanga said.

"Lastly, I am not aware of prejudice that was suffered by any party as a result of the late filing of the explanatory affidavit; and none was suggested. On balance, I am of the view that condonation must be granted and the explanatory affidavit accepted."

A buoyant Nxasana gave advice to prosecutors from the NPA.

"To officials at the NPA, I say continue doing your work diligently and faithfully. Officials must take a leaf out of this judgment and this whole scenario that took place. They must avoid agendas, camps...people must just work without fear or favour. They should treat everyone equally and never have fear to prosecute anyone...they must never allow interference by anyone at the NPA," he said.

Casac and Corruption Watch welcomed Madlanga judgment. Casac director Lawson Naidoo said it was now time for President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a new NPA head.

"We hope that he will act with speed, the Constitutional Court has given him 90 days to appoint a [National Director of Public Prosecutions] NDPP. We hope that that appointment will be made sooner so that the process of cleaning the NPA can start as soon as possible,'' Naidoo said.

African News Agency (ANA)