President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma intends to appeal a High Court ruling setting aside National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) boss Shaun Abrahams' appointment, the Presidency said on Friday. 

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday set aside Abrahams's appointment and ordered that he vacate his post. 

Judge Dustan Mlambo, handing down judgment, ruled that Zuma's appointment of Abrahams was invalid and must be immediately set aside.

"The appointment of Shaun Abrahams as the NDPP is reviewed, declared invalid and set aside," Mlambo said.

Mlambo also ruled that a new prosecutions boss must be appointed within 60 days, as it would not be just to reinstate Nxasana, and that this appointment must be made by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

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This is because Zuma was conflicted when it came to the appointment of a prosecutions boss. 

The Presidency in a statement said it noted the judgment handed down by the high court.

"Whilst the President awaits a full briefing on the judgment, he has been advised that an early assessment displays, with respect, various grounds upon which a successful appeal may be prosecuted.

"The National Prosecuting Authority is an important institution in our constitutional democracy, appointments in respect of which are not made lightly."

The Presidency added that: "Together with judges, who likewise are appointed by the President, the National Director of Public Prosecutions plays a vital role in the criminal justice system. Minded by the principle of the separation of powers, constitutional legality and the rule of law, the judgment will be appealed". 

"Out of deference to the court and the judicial system, these grounds will be properly ventilated in the normal course in court proceedings."

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac), Corruption Watch and Freedom Under Law (FUL) had approached the high court to set aside the settlement agreement between former prosecutions boss Mxolisi Nxasana and President Jacob Zuma, reached in 2015, that saw him receive R17 million to vacate his office.  

They wanted Nxasana to be reinstated and to give back the R17 million "golden handshake".