Application for Abrahams to be suspended based on speculation - Zuma

2016-11-17 15:55
NPA boss Shaun Abrahams (File)

NPA boss Shaun Abrahams (File) (File photo)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma says the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) and Freedom Under Law (FUL) application to force him to suspend National Prosecutions head Shaun Abrahams is based on speculation and conjecture.

Zuma filed an affidavit saying the matter is not urgent and instead said they should allow him time to decide whether Abrahams and two other senior National Director of Public Prosecutions advocates should be suspended.

Zuma wrote to Abrahams and advocates Sibongile Mzinyathi and Torie Pretorius on Tuesday asking them to provide written submissions as to why they should not be suspended. Zuma said their time to respond had not yet expired.

The two civic organisations went to court demanding that Zuma suspend the trio and institute an inquiry after the botched prosecution of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, former Sars boss Oupa Magashula and senior executive Ivan Pillay.

Zuma argues in the court papers that the HSF and FUL failed to substantiate their contention that should the three officials remain in their posts, it would "jeopardise dozens of critical prosecutions and investigations".

He is demanding that they tell him how, when and which cases could be jeopardised.

Market loss argument dismissed

"These allegations are not based on any fact, and are merely based on speculation and conjecture. Therefore the basis for their urgency is not grounded in fact."

Zuma says the FUL and HSF also failed to substantiate allegations that Gordhan could be charged again, saying "no basis is offered for this suspicion".

Zuma argues that although FUL intimates that there is an ongoing investigation of the alleged Sars rogue unit it does not mean that the probes will result in any prosecution.

He also went on to dismiss another argument that the integrity of the NPA has been undermined because after Gordhan was charged, the South African economy suffered a R50bn market loss.

"I am advised that it would be a sad day and in fact unconstitutional if prosecutorial decisions are, taken or not taken, influenced by how the market is likely to respond to such decisions."

Zuma argues that the two organisations should wait until he decides on the suspensions or inquiry as his decision can be reviewed.  

Zuma says decisions should only be guided by the Constitution and the law. 

Read more on:    helen suzman foundation  |  npa  |  freedom under law  |  jacob zuma  |  shaun abrahams

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