Shaun Abrahams. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - The Constitutional Court has found that the appointment of Shaun Abrahams as National Director of Public Prosecutions was invalid.

The court further directed President Cyril Ramaphosa to appoint a new NPA boss within 90 days. 

The apex court heard in February an application seeking to confirm two declaratory orders of constitutional invalidity and an application seeking leave to appeal a High Court ruling that found that Abrahams’s appointment was illegal. The court has also ruled that the manner in which former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana’s left office was illegal and as such so is Abrahams' appointment.

The court had come to this conclusion after it found that the termination of then NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana’s term of office was not done lawfully and as such Abrahams’s appointment as the head of the NPA as well as Nxasana’s R17 million "golden handshake" were invalid. 

The High Court then ruled that then deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa should be the one to appoint a new head for the NPA within 60 days. 

Abrahams appealed the decision along with former president Jacob Zuma. 

Zuma had objected to his deputy being ordered to appoint the head of the NPA, while Abrahams and the NPA were appealing the setting aside of Abrahams’s appointment. 

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.