The deadline for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce a new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) has fallen away until President Jacob Zuma’s appeal is dealt with.
According to the spokesperson for the NPA, Luvuyo Mfaku, the December court order for Ramaphosa to announce a new NDPP by February 6 has been suspended. He did not comment further on the matter.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said, as an investigative authority, the Hawks’ cases could not come to a standstill for any reason.
“The Hawks must continue to do their job. This has zero bearing on the cases and the matter of an NPA head does not mean cases must not be prosecuted,” Mathekga said.
He laughed off rumours of former public protector Thuli Madonsela as a likely candidate for NPA head Shaun Abrahams' job.
“Those who are saying Thuli could be the next NPA head are unrealistic. Let’s not be shy about it - the ANC does not like people like her so we all need to cap that enthusiasm. It is not impossible but it is highly improbable,” he said.
Abrahams’ future was put on the line after the Pretoria High Court reviewed and set aside his appointment in December. Ramaphosa was given the power to appoint the head of the NPA after the judgment, which found that Zuma was compromised because of the corruption charges he faced.
Zuma the NPA and Abrahams have appealed the ruling in the Constitutional Court.
Gareth Newham, head of the Justice and Violence Prevention Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, said the judgment was held in abeyance until the appeal process was finalised.
“Therefore, the 60 days (for Ramaphosa to appoint a new NPA head) will only start if the appeal is denied and Zuma does not petition the Supreme Court of Appeal.”
Looking at how this would affect the Hawks investigations into state capture and the reasoning behind no arrests being made, Newham said the absence of arrests was “because of the dereliction of duty by key people in the criminal justice system”.
“The Guptas should have been criminally investigated as far back as 2013 when they compromised the national security of South Africa by orchestrating the landing of a plane full of foreign nationals at Waterkloof,” he said.
Newham said that it appeared investigations only started in earnest during the course of last year and he hoped that the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture “would throw light on those in the criminal justice system who failed in their duties”.
He added that it would be difficult to tell what impact this would have on the 783 corruption charges Zuma faces as there was a widely held perception that Abrahams bent over backwards to assist Zuma in avoiding his day in court.
“For example, despite the hard evidence implicating Zuma in criminality, the NDPP acted in concert with Zuma’s attempts to fight the decision that withdrawing the criminal charges was irrational. The NDPP has further allowed to make additional representations as to why he should not be prosecuted, even going as far as to extend the deadline for such submissions,” he said.