JOHANNESBURG - The appointment of Shaun Abrahams as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) was as a result of former president Jacob Zuma's abuse of power, rendering any court outcome allowing Abrahams to remain in office a mockery of South Africa's constitution, Freedom Under Law (FUL) told the Constitutional Court on Wednesday.
Lobby group Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) brought an application in the Constitutional Court in a bid to confirm a high court ruling that set aside the prosecutions boss's appointment.
Wim Trengove, for FUL, during arguments on Wednesday, said Zuma ''bullied'' former NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana and illegally used public funds to ''seduce him'' into leaving the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA).
''The president [Zuma] set out to get rid of the NDPP and replace him by another. He bullied him out of office by threatening him with an inquiry [into Nxasana's fitness to hold office] and when that did not work, the president seduced Nxasana with an obscene amount of money,'' said Trengove.
''Whether Nxasana was a pawn or victim of the president's actions, his very appointment was a product of the president's abuse of power. How does one address this wrong? One cannot address this wrong by allowing Abrahams in office...this will be a mockery of the constitution. We submit that his appointment was unlawful.''
Nxasana was given a R17.3 million golden handshake by Zuma in 2015 to vacate his post as corruption charges hung over the former president's head. Nxasana was temporarily replaced by Silas Ramaite. Abrahams was then appointed permanently. He has in recent times drawn widespread criticism for dragging his feet reinstating Zuma's corruption charges. In December last year, the Pretoria High Court set aside Abrahams' appointment and ruled that President Cyril Ramaphosa appoint a new NDPP.
FUL, which was admitted as a friend of the court, along with Corruption Watch and the Helen Suzman Foundation, want Abrahams's appointment set aside and Nxasana to be reinstated. The NPA and Abrahams are opposing this, although the NPA, however, wants Nxasana to pay back the R17 million. The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) is adamant that Abrahams is compromised and should not be at the helm of the NPA and deciding on Zuma's prosecution.
The NPA has since confirmed that Abrahams has made a decision on whether to prosecute Zuma. Abrahams is expected to make an announcement next month.
The case continues.
African News Agency/ANA