Black Lawyers Association welcomes new NDPP appointment

Mxolisi Nxasana will now run the NPA
Image: GCIS Mxolisi Nxasana will now run the NPA

The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) on Saturday welcomed the appointment of Mxolisi Nxasana as the new national director of public prosecutions.

"BLA finds Mr Nxasana to be a seasoned leader within the legal profession who brings with him massive experience and knowledge to the NPA," BLA president Busani Mabunda said in a statement.

"BLA believes Mr Nxasana's proven leadership capabilities, his in-depth understanding of the South African legal system, criminal law in particular, and his unblemished track record will bring back the integrity, dignity and respect of the National Prosecuting Authority."

Nxasana has been the BLA's Durban branch chairman since last year and has been a council member of the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society since 2003, where he had served as vice president and president, said Mabunda.

The BLA called on the country to afford Nxasana the opportunity to settle into his new job at the NPA and prove his worth.

"BLA believes that if given the space and the necessary support Mr Nxasana will carry out his constitutional mandate... without fear, favour or prejudice."

President Jacob Zuma announced Nxasana's appointment in a statement on Friday.

He also announced the appointment of Vasantrai Soni as the new head of the Special Investigating Unit.

"Mr Nxasana currently practises as an attorney with a wealth of experience in criminal litigation, coupled with his having occupied senior positions in the legal profession including the chairpersonship of the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society," Zuma said at the time.

"Advocate Soni is a senior counsel with some 25 years experience and played a crucial role as chief evidence leader in the Jali Commission of Inquiry into corruption in prisons in South Africa."

Political parties on Saturday welcomed the appointments.

Agang SA said the appointment was welcomed after years of delays which it believed was designed to blunt the effectiveness of vital arms of the legal system.

"However why, once again, did it have to take legal action to force the president to simply fulfill his duty?," Agang SA's political director Moeketsi Mosola said in a statement.

"The suspicion remains that these are political appointments chosen by a president all too familiar with corrupting the legal process."

He said it was vital that the NPA and the SIU remained independent and acted without fear or favour to ensure that no citizen, even the president was above the law.

"Any political interference will be yet another attack on our democracy, further undermining the ability of the law to drive the accountability and clean governance which are sadly lacking in South Africa," Mosola said.

The Congress of the People welcomed the appointments but said Zuma should have made the appointments sooner because the credibility of both institutions were placed under immense pressure to remain relevant.

The party congratulated Nxasana and Soni on their appointments, spokesman Johann Abrie said.

"[Cope] wishes to see that the filling of these long overdue permanent positions will go some way to recover the unnecessary lapse of public confidence in these institutions."

The National Freedom Party said Nxasana would bring a wealth of experience and knowledge of the legal background to the NPA.

"The NFP hopes that Mr Nxasana will use his skills to bring about stability and integrity in the NPA," secretary general Nhlanhla Khubisa said in a statement.