KwaZulu-Natal's acting head of prosecutions was not replaced because of his persistence in prosecuting two politicians, the NPA said on Tuesday.
“Simphiwe Mlotshwa was replaced as acting director... because his post was not permanent,” National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Bulelwa Makeke said.
“In public service you cannot be appointed in an acting position for more than 12 months without getting a permanent post.”
Mlotshwa had reportedly been acting for 18 months, but Makeke said he was given a break during that period.
Makeke said: “Because of budget constraints we cannot afford to appoint a person full-time for the position.”
Replacing Mlotshwa would give another person a chance to get experience, Makeke said.
Mlotshwa was replaced by Moipone Noko-Mashilo.
The Witness newspaper reported on Monday that Mlotshwa was removed due to his persistence in prosecuting two KwaZulu-Natal politicians in the so-called “amigos” corruption case.
The “amigos case” involves Uruguayan businessman Gaston Savoi. Savoi's company Intaka allegedly paid bribes to ensure it obtained a contract to supply water purifiers and oxygen generators to hospitals, at hugely inflated prices.
He will go on trial in October along with KwaZulu-Natal economic development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu, former provincial health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni, and former provincial treasury boss Sipho Shabalala. Shabalala allegedly received a R1 million donation for the ANC.
The 25 accused are expected to go on trial on October 1.
According to the Witness, both Mlotshwa and Noko-Mashilo attended a meeting at the NPA head office in Pretoria on Friday.
The City Press newspaper reported on Sunday that Noko-Mashilo would take over Mlotshwa's position on Monday. It reported that Mlotshwa's removal was linked to his prosecutorial decisions in the case, including getting an arrest warrant for a high-profile politician. The warrant was never executed. – Sapa