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Govt won't amend NPA law - Zuma

2014-08-19 05:00

Johannesburg - Government does not intend amending the Constitution in regards to how the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head is appointed, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

"My government and I believe that the existing constitutional and legislative provisions for the appointment of the National Director of Public Prosecutions are adequate," he said in a written reply to a parliamentary question.

According to section 179(1)(a) of the Constitution, the NDPP is appointed by the president.

Zuma was responding to a question by Congress of the People MP Deidre Carter. She asked the president whether, in order to avoid further damage to the NPA's credibility and standing, government intended proposing amendments to the Constitution to allow for a more public, thorough, and transparent method of selecting the NDPP.

In his response, Zuma said that according to section 179(6) of the Constitution the justice minister had to have final responsibility over the NPA.

"Section 179(7) of the Constitution, 1996, also provides that all other matters concerning the prosecuting authority must be determined by national legislation," he said.

There is controversy surrounding the appointment of the current NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana. This was after reports that Nxasana had apparently not been given a security clearance because of past brushes with the law.

This included being tried for murder about 30 years ago. He was acquitted based on his version of self-defence.

Earlier this month, Zuma notified Nxasana that he was considering suspending him pending an inquiry into his fitness to hold office.

Nxasana filed an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria seeking an interdict to stop Zuma from suspending him before he had been provided with full details of the allegations and given a chance to make further representations.

Judge Joseph Raulinga postponed his application indefinitely.

Zuma and Nxasana met on Friday to discuss the issue. It was not clear what had been discussed.

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