In May 2015, the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) at the time, Mr Mxolisi Nxasana, vacated his position in exchange for a multimillion Rand settlement agreement. The NDPP, as head of the NPA, holds the power to determine prosecutorial policy in South Africa.

The litigation, in which the Helen Suzman Foundation participated as a ‘friend of the court (amicus curiae), that followed the settlement agreement sought two purposes. First, to challenge the settlement agreement on the grounds that it was a subversion of the lawful procedures governing an NDPP’s vacation of office. Second, to challenge the constitutionality of the statutory provisions that made the NDPP’s job security dependent on the discretion of the President, whether by way of unilateral suspension or unilateral renewal of tenure.