The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution has asked National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams to assure them that he will not withdraw charges against President Jacob Zuma until a Constitutional Court ruling has been made.
The charges against the president include fraud, corruption and racketeering.
A deadline extension granted by the public prosecutions director allows President Jacob Zuma to make his representations related to the 18 corruption-related charges to the National Prosecuting Authority by the end of January.
A series of letters between national director of public prosecutions Shaun Abrahams and lawyers for the Democratic Alliance indicate that Zuma asked to be given until the middle of February to make further submissions in his bid to avoid prosecution.
City Press reported earlier this month that Zuma’s representations to Abrahams – as to why he should not be prosecuted on 783 charges of fraud and corruption relating to the arms deal – were contained in scores of lever arch files.
In October, a judgment by the full bench of the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled the decision to drop the charges against Zuma was “irrational” and that they should be reinstated.
Executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, Lawson Naidoo, told News24 that he hoped Abrahams would refrain from making any withdrawal decisions, and not act contrary to a ruling by the Constitutional Court on December 15 stating that an order of constitutional invalidity is of no force until it has been confirmed by the Constitutional Court.
A court found that Abrahams’ appointment was in dispute, freezing all his decision-making powers on withdrawing the charges against the president until the validity of his appointment by Zuma has been clarified.
Last Friday, December 15, the North Gauteng High Court’s Judge Dunstan Mlambo ruled that Abrahams’ appointment was questionable because Zuma selected him while he had a plethora of criminal charges against him. The court gave deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa two months to appoint a new head of the National Prosecuting Authority after it declared the post vacant.
“In our view, President Zuma would clearly be conflicted in having to appoint a director of public prosecutions, given the background to which we have referred, particularly the ever-present spectre of the many criminal charges against him that have not gone away,” said Mlambo.
Casac, along with other parties, had gone to court to question the golden handshake and ultimate invalid removal of former director of public prosecutions, Mxolisi Nxasana in 2015.
“In setting aside the unlawful settlement agreement with Mr Mxolisi Nxasana, the high court also set aside the appointment of Advocate Abrahams, pending the appointment of a permanent director of public prosecutions. The directions also state that any party wishing to oppose Casac’s application must do so by January 19,” read a statement from Casac.
Pushing Abrahams into a corner, the council has said that it would apply for an interdict at Abrahams’ personal cost if he went ahead with a decision without notifying them.
Should Abrahams go ahead with a decision to withdraw the charges, Casac must be given two weeks’ notice, read the statement.
Abrahams has been given until January 5 to give Casac this assurance.
The National Prosecuting Authority’s spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku was not immediately available for comment. – News24