President Cyril Ramaphosa must act with haste in appointing a new national director for public prosecutions (NDPP) to send a message to the world that SA is serious about fighting corruption, says Lawson Naidoo, Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution (Casac) executive secretary.
Commenting on yesterday’s ruling by the Constitutional Court which found the appointment of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams unconstitutional and invalid, Naidoo said while SA’s highest court gave Ramaphosa a three-month period within which to appoint a new prosecutions head, he expected him to do so “within days”.
“In its ruling, the court was very clear about the importance of the NPA and the independence of the office of the national director. We expect the president to make this appointment soon,” said Naidoo.
Ramaphosa has been awaiting the Constitutional Court judgment on Abrahams before making a decision.
The court found former president Jacob Zuma’s decision to terminate Abraham’s predecessor Mxolisi Nxasana’s position of NDPP as an abuse of power which made Abrahams a beneficiary.
The ruling was hailed by Richard Calland, University of Cape Town associate professor of public law as being “profoundly important”.
“It could well have significant political implications. First and foremost, the current NDPP has been removed from office, providing the country with the opportunity to have in this important position a person of integrity and independence – an appropriate professional with competence, for the first time in 10 years.
“As of now, Abrahams has no future because he is no longer the NDPP. The president is free to appoint someone new,” said Calland.
“Assuming that Ramaphosa appoints someone fit and proper, with the requisite independence to do the job as the law requires without fear or favour, it could have significant consequences for the fight against corruption, and also the prosecution of politicians implicated in the state capture project that was enabled by Zuma.”
Asked about the implications of decisions and rulings Abrahams made while holding the reins at the NPA, Calland said: “The court has said nothing about Abrahams himself – his competence or honesty. His decisions are untouched.
“But the court has confirmed the ruling of the high court: he should not have been appointed in the first place.”