Decisions made by Shaun Abrahams while occupying office remain valid

Constitutional Court ruled that the appointment of Shaun Abraham as National Director of Public Prosecutions was invalid.
Constitutional Court ruled that the appointment of Shaun Abraham as National Director of Public Prosecutions was invalid.
Image: ALON SKUY

The decision by Advocate Shaun Abrahams to reinstate corruption charges against former President Jacob Zuma remains valid.

Constitutional Court ruled that even though Abrahams' appointment as the National Director of Public Prosecutions  (NDDP) is invalid, the decisions he made while occupying the office stands.

In delivering the judgment on Monday, Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga said that the manner in which Mxolisi Nxasana, Abrahams' predecessor, was removed from office is constitutionally invalid and therefore declaring Abrahams subsequent assumption of office as invalid as well.

On March 16, Abrahams decided to reinstate 16 charges against Zuma that include fraud‚ corruption and racketeering that relate to a R30-billion government arms deal in the late 1990s.

These charges relate to 783 payments which Zuma allegedly received as a bribe to protect French arms company‚ Thales‚ from an investigation into the controversial multi-billion rand arms deal. The alleged bribe was facilitated by Zuma’s former financial adviser‚ Schabir Shaik.

South Africa’s highest court ruled on August 13 2018 that Advocate Shaun Abrahams was not validly appointed to lead the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) because he had benefited from former President Jacob Zuma’s abuse of power. Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, writing on behalf of the Constitutional Court’s majority, found that Zuma had used a R17,3 million “golden handshake” to get rid of former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana.

In announcing the reinstatement of the charges, Abrahams said that he believes the NPA would successfully prosecute Zuma on these charges: one count of racketeering, two counts of corruption, one count of money laundering and 12 counts of fraud.

The decision by the Constitutional Court means that should Zuma wish to challenge the reinstatement of his charges, he would have to rely on any other aspects of law excluding the fact that Abrahams appointment was invalid. 

"Decisions taken and performed by Advocate Abrahams in his official capacity will not be invalid by reason only of the declaration of invalidity contained in paragraph 7.

"The declaration by the High Court that the appointment of Advocate Abrahams as NDDP is invalid is confirmed," said Justice Madlanga in delivering the judgment on Monday, August 13.

The Pietermaritzburg High Court on July 27 2018 ruled that the holding date for Zuma and his co-accused Thales to appear in court was November 30 2018.

- Additional reporting by Nivashni Nair

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