Thulani Gqirana

Will the real Shaun Abrahams please stand up?

2016-11-07 08:16

(SABC Digital News)

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NPA head Shaun Abrahams appeared in front of Parliament’s justice committee on Friday, where he essentially spent three hours distancing himself from the initial decision to prosecute Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

“It wasn’t me, but I supported it. Until I didn’t,” he basically told the committee, over and over.

At the same time, the National Director of Public Prosecutions was adamant that he had confidence in his staff, though he was sometimes compelled to reverse their decisions to prosecute.

The man who appeared in front of Parliament on Friday was very different to the overly confident Abrahams who had spoken in front of the same committee in October.

Then, when he told the same MPs of his confidence that the charges against Gordhan and two former SARS officials would stick, you could almost picture him finger snapping and flicking his non-existent weave.

He told journalists following that meeting that the NPA did not take matters to court if they didn’t believe there were reasonable prospects of a prosecution.

“I will do my job without fear or favour,” he boasted.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and the man who was sure of his prospects of prosecution was not so convinced.

But Abrahams still insisted that he had done the right thing and did not owe anyone an explanation or apology.

The summons was dropped, Gordhan was off the hook, and Abrahams had to face the opposition party firing squad, without a helmet, on a shaky two wheeler.

On Friday, a different man sat in the hotseat.

Facing a barrage of questions from opposition MPs, he could not sit still.

He alternated between tapping his fingers on his knees or occasionally waving his hands around while trying to convince a roomful of people that he was not captured.

This man who once oozed confidence had to be told, repeatedly, to speak up and talk into the microphone.

Every time he answered a question, he would start by assuring the country that he was not captured, and never would be.

He was still not compelled to apologise to anyone, but was quick to say he did not mean to cause anyone any distress with the charges.

But no matter how many times, or how many different ways he was asked to resign, he refused to fall on his sword.

He would continue to do his job without fear or favour, he said, albeit a little less boastful.

On Friday, the confident law man was gone, and in his place was one telling tales.

A man who reduced the media and visitors in the room to a fit of giggles, when he told an elaborate tale of how he had come to visit ANC headquarters.

“It was a Monday morning, I am an hour away from a dentist appointment, buses are burning, shops are being looted, vehicles and buildings are being vandalised; people are being assaulted. It's a state of anarchy.”

Can you hear the violin music as Abrahams puts out fires all by his lonesome self?

In a matter of weeks, my weave-flicking, finger snapping, gum chewing mental picture was replaced by an image of a child sitting not so quietly in the naughty corner.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    shaun abrahams  |  state capture  |  npa
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