South Africa 28.11.2016 11:25 am

D-Day for NPA head Abrahams and colleagues

National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams during a press briefing in Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams during a press briefing in Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Last week, the court struck off the roll an urgent court application to compel Zuma to suspend Abrahams and the other NPA directors.

Monday is the deadline for National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams to make submissions to President Jacob Zuma and provide reasons why he should not be suspended following criticism over his handling of fraud charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Zuma wrote to Abrahams and the other NPA directors, director of public prosecutions Sibongile Mzinyathi and acting special director of public prosecutions Torie Pretorius, two weeks ago, asking them to motivate why they should not be suspended.

This was after a request by civil rights organisations Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Freedom Under Law (FUL) for Zuma to suspend the top officials following Abrahams’ U-turn when he withdrew criminal charges against Gordhan.

In the letter, Zuma said the HSF and FUL raised concerns with the manner in which the three advocates conducted the prosecution of Gordhan and former SA Revenue Services (Sars) bosses Visvanathan Pillay and Oupa Magashula.

The prosecutions trio were given until November 28 to reply.

Last week, the North Gauteng High Court struck off the roll an urgent court application to compel Zuma to suspend Abrahams, Mzinyathi and Pretorius. The application was brought by FUL and HSF and heard by a full bench of judges.

In the ruling, judge president Dunstan Mlambo said there was nothing to suggest that Zuma was not considering the two organisations’ request to provisionally suspend Abrahams and his two colleagues pending an inquiry into their fitness to hold office.

Following a letter to Zuma by the applicants in November 7, in which they asked him to act against the three officials, the president responded that he needed more time. Within two days of receiving his answer, the applicants rushed to court, Mlambo said.

 

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