Nadel appalled by state of affairs at NPA

Shaun Abrahams.
Shaun Abrahams.

The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) says it is appalled by the state of affairs within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

It has also asked government to take all necessary steps to strengthen the prosecuting authority to ensure it is able to carry out its functions without interference.

The organisation weighed in on the debate following the judgment in the Pretoria High Court on Friday.

The court declared as invalid the termination of the appointment of appointment of Mxolisi Nxasana as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP). It also set aside the appointment of Nxasana’s successor Shaun Abrahams.

The court also ordered that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa appoint a new NDPP within 60 days.

Zuma has indicated he intends to appeal that judgment in the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Nadel said the judgment came as a sharp and painful reminder of the compromised integrity of the NPA and the need to strengthen it.

“South Africa finds itself in a very sorry state of affairs where our institutions of justice‚ with particular reference here to the NPA‚ have lost their independence and are fraught with political interference and morally questionable conduct‚” Nadel said in a statement.

It said although the term for any given NDPP was 10 years‚ the past 17 years had seen seven NPA heads.

This was despite stringent legislative and parliamentary protection of the tenure of a national director of public prosecutions.

It said the country had witnessed how easily heads of state had dismissed the national prosecuting head.

“If someone can easily dismiss you from your employment it makes it easy for that person to control you.”

Nadel said the problems in the NPA were not unique to the tenure of Zuma.

It said the “Spy Tapes” saga and the dismissal of Vusi Pikoli as NDPP provided an example of abuse and undue control of the NPA.

“Unless the independence of the NPA is strengthened this may occur again. Slowly the public’s confidence in the independence in the NPA is fading.”

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