The ConCourt has ruled that Shaun Abrahams's appointment as NDPP head was invalid. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has to appoint a new National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) within 90 days. 

This follows the Constitutional Court judgment that ruled the departure of former NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana, after he received a R17 million golden handshake, was illegal. 

The court also found the appoint of current NDPP Shaun Abrahams was invalid.

Nxasana has been ordered to pay back R10 million of the R17 million he received from the State after he vacated office. 

In a majority judgment written by Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, the court said it would not remedy the law for Nxasana to return to office, an argument that was put to the court by applicants Corruption Watch, Casac and Freedom Under Law. 

Madlanga said the willingness of Nxasana to vacate office if he was paid “the right price” was not in accordance with the expected behaviour of an NDPP. 

The court also had some tough words for the manner in which former president Jacob Zuma facilitated the departure of Nxasana from office.

The court said his removal was an abuse of power.
 
Nxasana was appointed in 2013 and had tumultuous reign at the NPA which ended with a suspension and an inquiry into his fitness to hold office. 

He had filed a filed a court application to argue against his suspension but abandoned that court action after negotiations with Zuma.

Justice Madlanga said it would not be just for Abrahams to remain as NDPP as he was a beneficiary of the abuse of power conducted by Zuma. 

In the minority judgment from the court written by Justice Chris Jafta and Justice AJ Petse, the two argued that if the settlement received by Nxasana and his departure were illegal then he should return to his former position. 

The judges said that Nxasana’s return would not cause havoc but would, in fact, allow Ramaphosa to lawfully remove him through legal processes. 

This judgment confirms the High Court’s declaration of invalidity and dismissed the appeal of the NPA and Abrahams with costs.