New NPA boss is ‘my pikkewyntjie’

2015-06-19 09:43
President Jacob Zuma has appointed Advocate Shaun Kevin Abrahams as National Director of Public Prosecutions with immediate effect.

President Jacob Zuma has appointed Advocate Shaun Kevin Abrahams as National Director of Public Prosecutions with immediate effect. (Kopano Tlape GCIS)

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Pietermaritzburg - From humble beginnings to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss, Shaun Abrahams’s mother Anne says she never imagined her son in this ­position.

“I didn’t even know he was on TV. I was busy watching a movie when a friend sent me a message saying the ­president just said Shaun’s name. I called him and all he said was, ‘Yes, mommy, it’s true’ and I burst into tears,” said the proud mother.

Speaking to The Witness from their Eastwood home, Anne and Shaun’s ­sister Lynn shed tears of joy at every mention of Shaun’s name.

“We knew he was going places but we never saw this coming,” said Anne.

Anne says the only one she can thank for her son’s successes is God.

“It is one of the proudest moments in my life. It is a Godly moment. I get onto my hands and knees every day and pray for my children so I know that it wasn’t the president who put Shaun in that position, it was God,” she said.

Lynn said she had the news channels on TV switched on all day yesterday.

“I had my PVR ready to record any time I saw anything about Shaun.”

The family man

Described as a “stern but loving and caring” brother and son, Shaun’s sister Lynn says her brother was brought up with dignity and morals.

“He is the strict one even though he is not the eldest. He isn’t emotional but he will sympathise with you. He is the strong person you can lean on in times of trouble,” she said.

Shaun is one of five children, with three brothers Neil, Kelvin and Vincent and one sister, Lynn.

With his childhood nickname, ­“Pikkewynjie” meaning penguin, his mother Anne says she will never stop calling him “my pikkewynjie”.

“Sometimes he thinks he’s in court and argues with me and I just have to look at him and say, ‘Pikkewynjie, this is your mother you are speaking to’ and then he just smiles at me,” said Anne.

She said Shaun visited the family over Christmas and enjoys spending time with his brothers and sister and their families.

“One of the things he loves when he comes home is tripe curry. And I know I must have it ready when he’s down,” she said. Anne laughed out loud remembering a feisty four-year-old Shaun defending his brother Neil and standing up to the bigger boys during a fight.

“He was only in pre-school and I remember him shouting out loud on the road. I ran to see what was happening and a few bigger boys were trying to hit his older brother Neil. And there was little Shaun standing in front of his brother saying, ‘You have to hit me first before you hit my brother’. Shaun was never a shy person and he would always stand up for himself and others,” said Anne.

Siblings from around the country sent messages of support to Shaun on a ­family WhatsApp group yesterday.

One message reads: “No words can describe how proud we are of you. God brought you to this point and we know you will execute your job with integrity. The country needs strength and reason to believe again. The ball is in your court brother.”

Schooling years

Abrahams and his family relocated from Standerton to Pietermaritzburg in 1984 where he attended Woodlands Primary School and Haythorne High.

“He was really not an academic boy. Always rugby, rugby, rugby. I would battle to get that child to study,” laughed Anne.

Shaun played flyhalf for the Young ­Lions and Collegians rugby clubs in ­Pietermaritzburg.

“He was quite an athlete and always into sport,” said Anne.

She said her visits to schools’ parent meetings were “daunting” as she would always be greeted with “Shaun is not working hard enough” by all his ­teachers.

“Once I locked him in his room to study and I don’t know who let him out. I was busy cooking and suddenly I saw someone fly past me and jump over the half kitchen door. It was Shaun running for his freedom,” she reminisced.

Acknowledging the late attorney-general of KZN Tim McNally, Anne said it was McNally who encouraged Shaun to study law.

“He was just a clerk at the courts and it was this wonderful man who told him to study further. And it was him ­[McNally] and [former] KZN Director of Public Prosecutions Mokotedi Mpshe who took him to Pretoria,” she said.

She said Shaun has had many mentors through the years who include school principal Basil Manuel, Tim McNally, Mokotedi Mpshe and Dorian Paver.

“We were not affluent people. ­Everything was always plain and simple with us but his father, Neels, always told him he could be anything he wanted to be. We are so proud of my pikkewynjie,” cried Anne.

Read more on:    npa  |  shaun abrahams  |  pietermaritzburg

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