Resign, apologise - opposition MPs tell Abrahams

2016-11-04 14:28
Shaun Abrahams

Shaun Abrahams (SABC Digital News)

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Cape Town - NPA head Shaun Abrahams was advised to resign, apologise to the nation and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and refresh his understanding of the law when he appeared in front of Parliament's justice committee on Friday.

Abrahams faced a hostile opposition party reception at the meeting, which he was told was his own doing.

Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, National Freedom Party and Freedom Front Plus MPs grilled the advocate on the case against Gordhan and two former senior Sars officials, Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay.

EFF MP Sam Matiase told Abrahams he had dishonoured the office of the NPA and should be disbarred.

"I'm advising you, resign. You are not fit to hold office," he said.

Matiase questioned Abrahams' understanding of the law and said the hostility he faced in Parliament was of his own making. 

NPA not 'captured'

AS IT HAPPENED: Abrahams grilled in Parliament over Gordhan

Abrahams was also told numerous times that he owed Gordhan, Pillay and Magashula an apology for how he handled the case.

National Freedom Party MP Sibusiso Mncwabe asked Abrahams if he would consider apologising to the country as a whole on his way out of office.

"Our Constitution allows that everyone is equal before the law and I do no deem it necessary to tender an apology," Abrahams said.

He told the committee that he had not considered resigning from his position.

Abrahams repeatedly said he had not made the initial decision to summon the three to court, but had been satisfied about the merits of the case.

He insisted that South Africans still had faith in the office of the NPA.

The office was not captured by anyone, he insisted.

"There is this misconception that the office of the NPA is captured. Captured by who? Can you answer that question?" he asked MPs, before saying it was rhetorical.

The meeting at Luthuli House

He was also grilled on his meeting at the ANC's headquarters before the charges were announced. 

In response Abrahams took the MPs through a journey, painting a picture of the day that led to the meeting at Luthuli House which he said was convened to discuss the fees protests.

"It's a Monday afternoon, 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. I receive a phone call from the minister of justice who requests my assistance at a briefing."

It was an emergency briefing, he told MPs.

"I attend this briefing. I didn't attend this meeting at Luthuli House to meet with the ANC. I attended this meeting to meet with ministers in the security cluster. Of course, I wish that it wasn't in that venue, otherwise I wouldn't be speaking about it now," Abrahams continued.

He had attended the meeting because it had impacted on the security of the country, he said.

ANC MPs, however, praised Abrahams and his office.

ANC MP Bongani Bongo said the NPA office had full integrity and had not been captured by anyone.

The NPA had acted independently without fear or favour, Bongo said.

"You did very well to review the decision, and the matter is now closed."

Read more on:    npa  |  shaun abrahams  |  state capture  |  parliament 2016

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