Zuma heeds DA’s call to suspend Shaun Abrahams - Mmusi Maimane

Party leader says NDPP's tenure has been amateurish and deeply tainted by political witch-hunts

Zuma heeds DA’s call to suspend Shaun Abrahams

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes President Zuma’s letter to Adv Shaun Abrahams, requesting he provide reasons as to why he should not be suspended from his position as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

I had previously called for Abrahams to be suspended by the President in terms of section 12(6) of the NPA Act, and wrote to the President requesting he take this very action. We welcome President Zuma’s decision to heed our advice in this regard.

Shaun Abrahams’s tenure has been amateurish and deeply tainted by political witch-hunts, which has brought the independence of the entire National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) into disrepute. We are of the firm view that Abrahams is unfit to hold the office of NDPP, and the intention to suspend him is welcomed.

In terms of section 12(6) of the NPA Act, the President can provisionally suspend the NDPP from his office, pending such inquiry into his office as the President may deem fit.

We maintain that a full Parliamentary inquiry should be held in terms of section 12(6) of the NPA Act. This allows Parliament to fulfil its rightful role in holding the executive to account, and ensuring those who hold executive power are indeed fit for purpose.

There remains ample evidence to point to the fact that Abrahams is simply unfit to carry out his mandate at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). His decision to announce charges against Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, without first reviewing the matter himself was wholly unacceptable - and knocked R50 billion out of our ailing economy in the process. Shockingly, Abrahams believes he owes no one an apology for this.

In fact, Abrahams’ first act as NDPP was to drop charges against the deeply compromised former Acting NDPP, Nomgcobo Jiba, and to instead promote her. Jiba had amongst other things interfered in the Selebi prosecution and had asked the President to expunge the criminal record of her husband, Booker Nhantsi, who had stolen trust funds from clients at his legal practice

In addition to this, Abrahams also wasted millions of rands of public money appealing the Spy tapes ruling, despite the DA winning in court on this matter, time and again.

However, it must be stated that we simply cannot keep a revolving door of NDPPs, who are hand-picked by the President with a mandate to not proceed with the charges against himself – and then discarded whenever needs be.

There remains too much power concentrated in the President regarding the appointment of the NDPP. Therefore, the DA intends to soon introduce a Constitutional Amendment Bill to ensure the appointment and removal of the NDPP is subject to proper oversight and accountability by Parliament.

Section 179 of the Constitution currently provides for the NDPP to be appointed solely by the President. Our bill requires that the President’s decision be informed by a resolution of the National Assembly passed with a supporting vote of at least 60% of the members of the National Assembly. This will go a long way in halting the abuse of the NPA for political reasons.

Nevertheless, regardless of the motives behind this move by President Zuma, we welcome this decision by the President to heed our call, and we implore him to now speed up the process by immediately suspending Abrahams pending a full Parliamentary inquiry.

Statement issued by Mmusi Maimane MP, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 15 November 2016