DA asks High Court to set aside former spy boss Fraser's appointment

2018-05-18 19:20
Correctional services commissioner Arthur Fraser in Parliament. (File photo: Paul Herman, News24)

Correctional services commissioner Arthur Fraser in Parliament. (File photo: Paul Herman, News24)

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The DA filed papers in the Pretoria High Court on Friday to have President Cyril Ramaphosa's appointment of former spy boss Arthur Fraser as national commissioner of correctional services set aside.

This after the Constitutional Court dismissed an earlier application by the DA, which asked for exclusive jurisdiction, alternatively direct access to the court, to have Fraser's appointment set aside.

On May 2 the court ruled that it was not in the interest of justice to grant direct access and that the matter was not urgent.

"In these circumstances, the DA has no option but to approach the High Court for relief," the court papers read.

READ: Arthur Fraser skips first pre-budget presser in Parliament for 'urgent matter'

The DA now argues that the matter is "semi-urgent".

Last month Fraser was removed as director general of the State Security Agency only for him to be appointed as commissioner of correctional services, amid allegations that he tried to scupper an investigation into him.

This after Inspector-General of Intelligence Setlhomamaru Dintwe alleged in court papers that Fraser, whom he was investigating, prevented him from doing his work. 

Fraser, a central figure in investigative journalist Jacques Pauw's book The President's Keepers, is alleged to have operated a parallel intelligence agency and siphoned off millions of rands.

Fraser denies the allegations against him and says it is part of a "malicious" campaign aimed to "discredit" him.

"Our legal action seeks an order declaring that the President's recent appointment of Arthur Fraser violated the President's constitutional obligation to appoint a National Commissioner who is sufficiently conscientious, has enough credibility to do this important job effectively and is of good character," chairperson of the DA's federal council James Selfe said in a statement.

"Fraser is a deeply compromised individual who is not fit to hold such a vital position within government, and the DA argues that the President failed in his constitutional obligations by appointing him."

READ: Why was intelligence inspector hounded?

Like in their application to the Constitutional Court, the DA's argument rests on the Semilane-case - the DA's successful court bid to remove Menzi Simelane as National Director of Public Prosecutions where the court held that "ignoring prima facie indications of dishonesty is wholly inconsistent with the end sought to be achieved".

The DA had earlier asked Ramaphosa for reasons for Fraser's appointment, but these have not been forthcoming.

The DA cited Ramaphosa, Fraser, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha and his deputy concerned with correctional services Thabang Makwetla, as respondents in the matter.

Since his appointment as commissioner of correctional services, Fraser has kept a low profile, which continued on Thursday as he broke with convention and did not attend the press briefing before Masutha's budget vote debate due to an unspecified "urgent matter".

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  arthur fraser  |  cyril ramaphosa

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