All eyes on Concourt for long-awaited ruling on Shaun Abrahams

National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams.
National Prosecuting Authority head Shaun Abrahams.
Image: ALON SKUY

After nearly six months of waiting‚ the Constitutional Court will finally rule on whether Shaun Abrahams’s appointment as South Africa’s most powerful prosecutor is valid.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has stated that he is waiting for the outcome of this case before deciding on Abrahams’s leadership of the National Prosecuting Authority‚ but he has already stated that dealing with “leadership issues” at the NPA was one of his administration’s top priorities.

The president chose not to attempt to fight a ruling that Abrahams was invalidly appointed and opted to abide by the ruling delivered by the Constitutional Court.

The court will on Monday hand down its decision on Abrahams’s and the NPA’s challenge to a Pretoria High Court ruling that ordered Abrahams to vacate his position within 60 days and then Deputy President Ramaphosa to appoint his replacement.

Three judges of the high court‚ led by Judge President Dunstan Mlambo‚ found that the R17.3-million “golden handshake” deal given to former prosecutions head Mxolisi Nxasana to leave office was “unconstitutional”.

Nxasana maintains that he was removed because Zuma believed he would proceed with the fraud and corruption case against him.

The high court further found that because Nxasana’s removal was illegal‚ Abrahams’ appointment was invalid.

There has been widespread speculation that the Constitutional Court’s delay in delivering its decision on Abrahams’s fate was because the justices hearing the case were split on whether he should be removed and whether such removal would be “fair and equitable” to him.

Both the NPA and Abrahams have argued that he was not been found unfit to hold office‚ and that removing him from a position he has occupied for three years would not be just.

The high court didn’t buy that argument‚ concluding that keeping Abrahams in his position would effectively reward the illegal action taken by Zuma when he gave Nxasana his illegal payout.

Whatever the Constitutional Court decides will have major and lasting implications for the NPA’s leadership.

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