Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has remained mum on the Pretoria High Court judgment that axed National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams from his job.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Tyrone Seale, said on Saturday they would not comment on the judgment, despite its instruction for the deputy president to appoint the new National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head.
But the NPA said Abrahams would not go until its appeal had been concluded. The NPA filed a notice to appeal the judgment after President Jacob Zuma said he would appeal the judgment of the full bench of the high court. Judge President Dunstan Mlambo had ordered that Abrahams be removed from his position and that Ramaphosa appoint the new NPA head within 60 days.
Legal experts said Ramaphosa cannot implement the order of the court until the appeal is heard and finalised. Political analysts said the judgment would not have an impact on the ANC conference this weekend. The conference begins on Saturday and Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma are the front runners.
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The other contenders are Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, National Assembly Speaker and ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete, ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize and former party treasurer Mathews Phosa. Phosa has taken the ANC in Mpumalanga to court, saying the nomination process by branches was flawed.
Professor James Grant, a legal expert from Wits University, said the appeal by the NPA and Zuma automatically suspends the order of the high court. “In effect, it means the order of the high court is suspended. The bottom line is that the order is suspended with the effect that Shaun Abrahams remains in his position until the appeal is decided,” said Grant.
Head of politics at Unisa, Professor Dirk Kotze, said those who want to appeal, including Zuma and the NPA, can approach the high court. He said the appeal can take some time. But Kotze warned that it would be difficult for Zuma to win an appeal given that the judgment was by a full bench of the high court.
“It is difficult to get (a win) given that the judgment was given by three judges. It is rare for the high court to grant an appeal. It will be difficult for Zuma and the NPA to convince the court to appeal,” said Kotze.
He said the judgment would not have an impact on the outcome of the ANC conference this week.
“I don’t think this will affect the conference because the delegates have made up their minds,” said Kotze.