I was not appointed to protect specific individuals - new NPA head

2015-07-07 16:40
All eyes on the new national director of public prosecutions, Advocate Shaun Abrahams in the Omar al-Bashir saga. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

All eyes on the new national director of public prosecutions, Advocate Shaun Abrahams in the Omar al-Bashir saga. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

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Pretoria - New National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams said on Tuesday that he was not appointed to the position to protect specific individuals. 

"I can assure you that I don't intend to use my powers to protect anyone and I have not been appointed to protect anyone," he said when asked by the media at his formal introduction if he was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to protect him.

The 39-year-old National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head said earlier that he would not be silent about the different controversies the institution faced. 

"Unfortunately there are unpleasant issues we have to deal with. We cannot shy away from it, nor can we shy away from our responsibilities.

"The NPA has been in the media for the last two years for all the wrong reasons. Much of it has been self-inflicted.

"I have been briefed in respect of most of them [the problems] and have scheduled engagements to be briefed on others - now is not the time and place to venture further, today is a day for celebrations. 

"However this should not be misconstrued as me remaining silent. I will not be silent."

'We are lawyers... we are not politicians'

He said he appreciated that the public needed to be taken into confidence through the media. 

"I... [and NPA officials] intend to engage the media regularly," Abrahams said. 

"We intend to do so every six to eight weeks, or as circumstances require."

However, he said he would like to address media reports of "camps" in the NPA.

"We are lawyers... we are not politicians. Under my watch and leadership there is only one camp -  the NPA camp," Abrahams said. 

"There will be no room for anti-NPA sentiments. We must be mindful that the integrity of the institution must be protected."

Aspires to complete full term of office

He said he was concerned by previous leaks to the media from within the NPA. 

"It can only be NPA officials. In most instances very senior NPA officials. This kind of conduct cannot be condoned."

He said he aspired to complete his entire term in office. 

"If there is a legacy I would like to leave - it would be to have brought stability to the NPA and regained and entrenched the staff's confidence in the leadership of the NPA and the NPA as an institution, and to regain the public confidence in the leadership of the NPA and the NPA as an institution."

Abrahams was appointed by Zuma last month. 

The NPA has been through five bosses since 1998 and one acting head.

Former NPA boss Mxolisi Nxasana resigned from his position at the end of May after reportedly receiving a golden handshake.

Before he left, an inquiry into Nxasana's fitness to hold office was suddenly cancelled.

Read more on:    npa  |  mxolisi nxasana  |  shaun abrahams  |  justice

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