President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday announced his decision to withdraw the appeal against a North Gauteng High Court judgment which ruled that National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams should vacate his position as the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).
"President Cyril Ramaphosa has indicated to the Constitutional Court that he will withdraw the appeal filed in the matter of Corruption Watch and Others v The President of the Republic of South Africa, which concerns the appointment of the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP)," the Presidency said.
"The only issue that had been appealed by the President of the Republic was whether or not the former President or his then Deputy should appoint the NDPP. That matter is now moot."
The Presidency said that on Wednesday, at its hearing, the Constitutional Court would also consider whether or not to confirm the High Court’s decision that some sections of the National Prosecuting Authority Act – those dealing with suspension of the NDPP – are unconstitutional.
"President Ramaphosa has indicated that he will no longer prosecute the appeal in this matter and will therefore not be present in court to argue the matter on February 28."
On December 8, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that former president Jacobo Zuma would not be able to appoint a new NDPP, saying he was “conflicted” given the fact that the NPA was deciding whether to reinstate 783 counts of, among others, corruption, racketeering and fraud against the president after the case was withdrawn in 2009.
The court instructed then deputy president Ramaphosa to appoint a new prosecutions boss within the next 60 days.
The case was brought by Corruption Watch and Freedom Under Law
The court also set aside the appointment of Abrahams as NDPP. A full bench, led by the court’s Judge President Dustan Mlambo, also found that it would not be just for the former prosecutions boss Mxolisi Nxasana to be reinstated.
Nxasana was appointed in August 2013, but the very next year faced an inquiry into his fitness to hold office. After first refusing to resign, he left he NPA in June 2015.
Nxasana said he did not approach Zuma, but the president came to him, implying Zuma had lied under oath in an affidavit that the former NDPP had left his post voluntarily and had not been forced to do so.
Judge Mlambo ruled it would not be just to bring Nxasana back and at the same time to keep Abrahams in office. The court also ordered Nxasana to pay back the R17 million settlement he received.