Shaun Abrahams

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma on Friday announced he would not be suspending National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams and would not hold an inquiry into his fitness to hold office.

In a statement, the presidency said Zuma had considered submissions from Abrahams, Gauteng head of public prosecutions, Sibongile Mzinyathi, and the acting Head of the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit, Torie Pretorius, as well as submissions from two non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“In considering this matter the President had to place weight to the provisions of section 179 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 which guarantees the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority and those of its officials,” the statement said.

“Having considered the submissions received from the three prosecutors and concerns raised by the Helen Suzman Foundation [HSF] and Freedom Under Law [FUL] regarding their conduct in as far as it relates to the decision to charge and review the charges against Minister Pravin Gordhan, Mr Ivan Pillay and Mr Oupa Magushula, the President could not find substantiation for the claim that Adv. Abrahams, Adv Mzinyathi and Dr Pretorius’s conducts were actuated by ulterior motive or any other improper motive which would give rise to a charge of misconduct or that they are no longer fit and proper to hold office.”

The presidency said there was a lack of prima facie evidence suggesting that the three senior NPA officials had been guilty of “misconduct or lack of fitness and propriety to warrant the invocation of the provisions of section 12(6) read with 14(3) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act”.

In November last year, Zuma announced he had written to Abrahams, Mzinyathi and Pretorius to explain why they should not be suspended pending an inquiry. This was in response to calls from HSF and FUL.

The two organisation had then launched an urgent court application to compel the president to suspend the three. The matter was struck off the roll, also in November.