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Zuma to meet Nxasana again soon

2014-08-21 20:42

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma told Parliament on Thursday he was considering submissions made by national director of public prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana and would soon meet with him for a second time.

Zuma said Nxasana raised the points when they met last week. He had needed time to weigh them before deciding how to proceed with the matter, but did not give further details. Nxasana is fighting possible suspension from his post.

"In the meeting he tabled certain issues to which I am still applying my mind. I will meet him again soon to take the matters forward," he said during presidential question time in the National Assembly.

"The issues that he raised needed to be given some thinking, so that when we meet, we will then be able to move forward."

Nxasana's lawyer said last week that the embattled prosecutions chief and the president were trying to resolve their dispute over Nxasana's fitness to hold office.

The presidency announced in July that Zuma was considering suspending Nxasana, pending an inquiry into his suitability for the post.

The terms of reference for the probe were never made public, but a letter from the president to Nxasana questioned whether his history, conduct and comments to the media were consistent with the integrity of his office.

In his comments to MPs, Zuma said the inquiry's terms of reference had in fact been determined, and pointed out that the meeting had taken place at Nxasana's insistence.

Nxasana went to court this month seeking an order barring the president from suspending him until he had been given more information about the reasons and an opportunity to make representations.

He postponed the court process without a return date - though it remains on the roll - after Zuma agreed to a meeting.

In a follow-up question on Thursday, DA parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane asked Zuma whether he saw no conflict of interest in the fact that it fell to him to appoint a national prosecutions chief who was in a position to decide whether or not to reinstate 781 fraud and corruption charges against him.

"Don't you agree Mr President that there is a conflict of interest in you being able to appoint the person who then has the duty or the task whether or not to reinstate the charges or proceed in dropping them?"

Zuma replied that since the charges had come to nothing, the question was meaningless.

"So far as I'm concerned I've got no charges against me and therefore the issue of the conflict of interest does not arise."

He added: "It is a non-issue. Charges were withdrawn. There was nothing".

Zuma's legal counsel last week conceded he had no argument to prevent the DA from being given the records - including the so-called spy tapes - which the National Prosecuting Authority used in 2009 to back its decision to drop the charges against Zuma.

The party considers that a key victory in its long legal battle to have the decision taken on review.

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