High Court ruling on Shaun Abrahams 'a serious judicial over-reach' – MKMVA

2017-12-09 11:58
Shaun Abrahams (Nico Gous, Netwerk24)

Shaun Abrahams (Nico Gous, Netwerk24)

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Pretoria - The Umkhoto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has described a High Court ruling which found the appointment of NPA Head Advocate Shaun Abrahams invalid, as a "serious judicial over-reach". 

In a statement released on Saturday, the association said the decision came "perilously close to a judicial coup" against President Jacob Zuma, a democratically elected president.

On Friday, a full bench in the North Gauteng High Court - comprising Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, Judge Natvarlal Ranchod and Judge Willem van der Linde handed down a judgment which found that Abrahams must vacate his seat.

The judgment was a result of an application lodged by Freedom Under Law, Corruption Watch and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) who gone to court seeking an order declaring former National Prosecuting Authority boss Mxolisi Nxasana's removal invalid.

The applicants also wanted to challenge a R17.3m golden handshake Zuma had offered Nxasana to vacate his office. He was replaced by Abrahams.

Ruling 'intended to favour the candidacy of the Deputy President'

While handing down the judgment, Mlambo ruled that it would not be just for Nxasana to be reinstated and that, due to his pending corruption case, Zuma was conflicted in appointing a National Director of Public Prosecutions.

The court ruled that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should appoint a new NDPP in the next 60 days.

The MKMVA however, believes that the court's decision to grant Ramaphosa this new responsibility was done with the intention of influencing the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections.

"This was done despite the fact that there is no provision in the Constitution for the Deputy President to be simply appointed to take over this important duty of the President.

"There can be no doubt that this ruling both in its content and timing is intended to favour the candidacy of the Deputy President.

"In having done so the justices have compromised the judiciary, and undermined the independence of the judiciary as one of the three critical pillars that must uphold our constitutional democracy."

Nxasana accepted a golden handshake from Zuma worth R17.3m and left the NPA in 2015.

Before that, an inquiry into his fitness to hold office was abruptly halted without explanation.

The organisations wanted his removal set aside and the golden handshake repaid.

During the hearing in November, the court heard that Zuma tried to "bully" Nxasana out of office by using an inquiry into his fitness.

The MKMVA has described the court's decision as flying in the face of the legal maxim that every citizen is innocent until found guilty by a court of law.

"It must be pointed out that President Zuma has not been found guilty of any crime at all, yet with this outrageous decision the Northern Gauteng High Court behaves towards him as if he is already found guilty and sentenced.

"In effect the court is saying that President is to be stripped off his rights as a citizen and Head of State."

Zuma, Shaun Abrahams as well as the NPA have all announced their intentions to appeal the ruling.

Read more on:    npa  |  mkmva  |  jacob zuma  |  shaun abrahams

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