South Africa 28.11.2016 02:56 pm

DA urges Zuma to make public NPA boss’ arguments for non-suspension

National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams during a press briefing, 31 October 2016, NPA head Office, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams during a press briefing, 31 October 2016, NPA head Office, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Monday was the last day for Shaun Abrahams to submit his arguments to the president.

The Democratic Alliance on Monday called on President Jacob Zuma to make public National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams’s submission on why he should not be suspended.

Monday was the last day for Abrahams to submit his arguments to the president.

DA justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach said the process needed to be transparent to bring as much light as possible to the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to charge Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and two former colleagues at the South African Revenue Service (Sars) with fraud, only for Abrahams to withdraw the charges before the due court date.

“The public deserves to know the facts surrounding the spectacle of Gordhan’s prosecution and subsequent withdrawal of charges. It is therefore of national importance that the president handles the rest of the process with complete transparency, in doing so placing himself above suspicion,” Breytenbach said.

Zuma wrote to Abrahams and the other NPA directors, head of the prosecuting authority’s priority crimes litigation unit Torie Pretorius and North Gauteng director of public prosecutions Sibongile Mzinyathi, two weeks ago, asking them why they should not be suspended.

This was after request by civil society organisations, the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Freedom Under Law (FUL), asking Zuma to suspend the top officials following Abrahams’ U-turn on the criminal charges against Gordhan and to call an inquiry into their fitness to hold office.

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 ‘Ivan’ Pillay and Oupa Magashula.

Last week, the North Gauteng High Court struck off the two organisations’ urgent court application to compel Zuma to suspend Abrahams, Mzinyathi and Pretorius.

In the ruling, judge president Dunstan Mlambo said there was nothing to suggest 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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