In a rare moment of agreement, both the ANC and DA have issued statements saying they “welcome” Monday’s ConCourt ruling, which found that the manner in which former NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana vacated office was constitutionally invalid and that Shaun Abrahams must therefore leave his post as NPA head.
The opposition has called for a new national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) to be chosen by parliament.
“DA has propagated the view for some time that the appointment process regarding the NDPP should follow the concept of public and parliamentary involvement similar to the process of appointment of the public protector and the judiciary. This would be a good time to revisit that option,” said DA shadow minister of justice and constitutional development Glynnis Breytenbach.
Breytenbach went on to slam former president Jacob Zuma for his role in the illegal removal of Nxasana and appointment of Abrahams.
“Zuma’s decision to appoint Abrahams as head of the NPA was nothing more than an attempt to prevent the prosecuting authority from reinstating the 783 counts of corruption, fraud, racketeering and money laundering against him,” she says.
The ruling party, meanwhile, said in a statement it “welcomes and respects the Constitutional Court judgment which found that the appointment of Mr Shaun Abrahams was unconstitutional and invalid”.
“The ANC believes that today’s judgment provides President Cyril Ramaphosa with the necessary space to move with speed and urgency to resolve the leadership question at the NPA,” the statement continues.
“What is critical for the ANC is the restoration of the independence, integrity and credibility of this key law-enforcement agency. Anything that compromises the independence of the NPA will undermine its credibility and lead to a serious erosion of the rule of law,” the statement says.
Abrahams tried unsuccessfully to overturn a high court ruling that ordered him out of office on Monday morning at the Constitutional Court.
Justice Mbuyiseni Madlanga handed down the judgment, finding both the manner in which former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana vacated office and the subsequent appointment of Shaun Abrahams unconstitutional and invalid.
This is due to the R17.3-million “golden handshake” Zuma gave to then NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana to leave his position.
The former president has admitted the deal with Nxasana was unlawful.
Nxasana will not be getting his job back, contrary to what many thought would take place.
Instead, Madlanga ruled that Ramaphosa should appoint a new NDPP, giving him 90 days to do so.
Madlanga also ordered Nxasana to pay back a sum of more than R10 million due to the illegality of the “golden handshake”.
The judge also confirmed the constitutional invalidity of certain sections of the NPA Act, giving parliament 18 months to amend it.
He said the present case was rooted in the “sorry state” that engulfed the NPA during Jacob Zuma’s presidency.