INTERVIEW: Gerrie Nel could have gone anywhere; why Afriforum?


JOHANNESBURG , 02 February 2017 - Prominent prosecutor, Advocate Gerrie Nel, recently resigned from the National Prosecuting Authority to join lobby group AfriForum as head of its private prosecutions unit. Nel talked about his move with Joanne Joseph.

JOHANNESBURG - "I’m creating something new – something that hasn’t been there before," prominent prosecutor, Advocate Gerrie Nel said excitedly in his interview with eNCA.

Nel recently resigned from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to join lobby group, AfriForum, as head of its private prosecutions unit.

He was responding to Joanne Joseph's direct question: with his reputation he could have gone anywhere - why Afriforum, which is not a statutory body?

WATCH: AfriForum media briefing with Gerrie Nel

Nel clarified that there wouldn't be any competition with the NPA.

"It's not a parallel prosecution line -- we will only prosecute those cases which the NPA has decided not to prosecute. They're the only prosecuting body in this country – every matter will go to them.

"Only once they’ve decided not to prosecute, will we have access to only those specific matters," he said.

"We don’t have carte blanche to take on any matter and to think we can prosecute better, at all."

Nel also responded to a public perception that AfriForum stereotypically only looks out for white minority Afrikaaner interests.

READ: Lesufi's grievances against apartheid impacting Afrikaners: AfriForum

“Even though that perception exists … I hope that the intergrity profile that I have built up over a period of 35 years .. cannot disappear overnight; I can certainly say that I don’t have a political agenda, I’ve never had one.”

“I've never been involved in politics and I certainly don’t want to start now,” he said, vehemently.

Nel has issued a 'friendly challenge' to the public to “scrutinise us, follow us, see what we do .. AND criticise us.”

He reiterated that he’s not concerned about records showing AfriForum as having narrow interests in terms of who it supports and who it wants to protect.

“I’m not worried – I would not have taken the position if I was given strict instructions on which cases to take or not.

“It would be wrong of us to say we’re creating this because of selective prosecutions, and then on the other hand WE are selective."

Another issue which he says doesn’t concern him is the apparent probe into himself at the NPA.

He said it certainly was not the reason he left, because he didn’t even know about it in the first place.

Nel also discusses Shaun Abrahams and the state of the NPA, and political interference.

READ: I have lost faith in NPA: top crime fighter

* Watch the full interview in the gallery above.

Meanwhile, the National Prosecuting Authority says Nel's departure won't paralyse the institution.

The authority says it has more competent and highly qualified prosecutors.

WATCH: AfriForum media briefing with Gerrie Nel

During Nel’s 35-year career at the NPA, he put disgraced top cop, Jackie Selebi, and former Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius, behind bars.

Nel has stressed that his new unit will investigate both the private and public sectors.