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'Regime change' results in Ramaphosa withdrawing Zuma's appeal over Abrahams appointment

National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams.
National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday withdrew an appeal lodged by his predecessor Jacob Zuma against a court ruling that the former head of state was too conflicted to appoint Shaun Abrahams as National Director of Public Prosecutions.

According to a letter sent by the State Attorney's office to the registrar of the Constitutional Court on Friday‚ “regime change” – as well as discussions with Ramaphosa – had led to the decision.

This comes after Zuma last month appealed a North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ruling that the former head of state was too conflicted to appoint anyone to the position of the National Director of Public Prosecutions – this because he might himself be facing criminal charges.

The case was meant to be heard on February 28.

“With the current regime change and after consultation with the current President of the Republic of South Africa‚ we are instructed to inform this Court‚ that the first respondent [the President] is no longer prosecuting its appear and therefore will not be present to argue the matter on 28 February 2018‚” the letter reads.

It continued‚ however‚ that Zuma still had the option to continue the appeal in a personal capacity.

“To the extent that the former president may want to pursue argument on matters affecting him personally he may do so through his legal representatives‚” it said.

As deputy president‚ Ramaphosa had previously filed a notice to abide by the court's decision.

Lawson Naidoo of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution‚ which is one of the parties to the case‚ said this development wouldn’t prevent the case going ahead. He said other orders of the high which needed to be confirmed as unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court.

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