Premium Journalist
3 minute read
8 Nov 2016
7:58 am

NGOs accuse Zuma of dodging call to suspend Abrahams


Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation have called the Presidency's conduct 'unacceptable'.

President Jacob Zuma. File Photo: Gallo Images

Non-governmental organisations Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation on Monday reiterated that they had sent a letter to President Jacob Zuma urging him to suspend National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams and two senior officials pending enquiries into their fitness to hold office.

This after the Presidency on Monday denied receiving the letter. According to the Presidency, it learnt from media reports that HSF and FUL wrote to Zuma regarding the alleged “impropriety and unfitness” of the National Prosecuting Authority head to hold office.

“The letter gives an account of how the NDPP and the prosecutors who dealt with the matter involving the Minister of Finance and others misconducted themselves,” the Presidency said in a statement.

“The letter concludes by asking the President to confirm, in writing, by no later than 16h00 Monday, 7 November 2016, that the President will provisionally suspended the NDPP, JP Pretorius SC and S Mzinyathi from their office, pending enquiries into their fitness to hold office as contemplated in section 12(6)(a), read with, inter alia, section 14(3) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998 and that the President will forthwith institute such enquiries.”

In a statement late on Monday evening, the HSF said that on November 1, the HSF and FUL urged Zuma to suspend Abrahams and two of his senior staff, pending an inquiry into their fitness for office.

“The President was given until 4pm on 7 November to respond. Despite due delivery of the letter the Presidency has seen fit publicly to deny receipt and to ask for another two weeks to respond,” the statement read.

“The HSF and FUL regard this conduct as unacceptable and have informed the President that the urgent application foreshadowed in the letter is being instituted forthwith.”

However, the Presidency said it has checked its records and found no record of receipt of this correspondence from HSF or FUL.

“The matter will be attended to once the letter has been delivered to the Presidency.”

The two non-governmental organisations urged Zuma to suspend Abrahams and Dr JP Pretorius SC and Sibongile Mzinyathi.

Earlier this month, the rand took a knock as the NPA announced that it had issued a formal summons against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, and two former Sars officials, Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay over the approval of Pillay’s early retirement with full benefits and subsequent five-year contract.

The announcement came amid the ongoing, politically charged investigation into an intelligence unit within the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

The organisations said that the NPA, with Mr Abrahams’ support, brought baseless criminal charges against Gordhan, Pillay and Magashula, which showed that he lacked the required conscientiousness and integrity to be entrusted with the responsibilities of the office of the NDPP.

“Mr Abrahams does not believe that he has done anything wrong. He is mistaken. We have thus urged the President to hold him, and his colleagues, accountable.”

The letter to Zuma described Abrahams admission that he did not apply his mind or see supporting documents as “reckless in the extreme”.

Gordhan, Magashula and Pillay were due to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court on Wednesday, November 2, but the charges were withdrawn.

– African News Agency (ANA)