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18 Jun 2015 14:56
Shaun Abrahams (left). (Gallo)
South African President Jacob Zuma on Thursday appointed advocate Shaun Abrahams as
the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) with immediate effect. There
was mixed reaction to the appointment, with former
NDPP advocate Vusi Pikoli welcoming his appointment
and the Democratic Alliance questioning why other “seasoned” prosecutors had
been passed over.
a senior state advocate in the priority crimes litigation unit in the office of
the NDPP, takes over as the head of the country’s prosecuting authority after
Mxolisi Nxasana stepped down last month after reaching a settlement agreement
Silas Ramaite had been acting as NDPP after Nxasana’s departure.
Pikoli said Abrahams’s appointment
was a step in the right direction.
“He [Abrahams] is coming from
the prosecution services.
DA justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach said Zuma had made the appointment
just 19 days after the departure of the last incumbent, Mxolisi Nxasana, who
served one year of a 10-year contract. Nxasana reportedly
accepted a settlement of more than R17-million.
“Now, with almost
indecent haste, a relatively junior member of the NPA is catapulted over the
likes of seasoned directors of public prosecutions, and more seriously, over
the likes of Dr Silas Ramaite SC or Willie Hofmeyr, both deputy national directors
for more than a decade who have acted in the position countless times.”
“Upon a cursory inquiry,
it becomes clear that advocate Abrahams is seen to be very close to Nomcgobo
Jiba, the deputy national director of public prosecutions, who has disgraced
herself and the NPA repeatedly. The cosy relationship between Jiba and the president
is no secret, and it appears that Abrahams was in fact Jiba’s choice.”
A senior state advocate in the priority
crimes litigation unit in the office of the NDPP, Abrahams has more than 17
years’ experience in the prosecution services.
He was involved
the terrorism case against Nigeria’s Movement for the Emancipation of the
Niger-Delta [Mend] leader Henry Okah, who was found guilty of 13 terrorism
Abrahams was also
instrumental in the prosecution of three of the four people accused of
attempting to carry out an attack on the ANC’s Mangaung conference in 2012. The
three were sentenced to eight years in prison.
prosecuted the leader of the Geloftevolk Republikeine, André Visagie, who was
sentenced to five years imprisonment by the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court for the
illegal possession of five handmade guns and a 9mm pistol, the illegal
possession of ammunition and the illegal possession of firearm parts.
June last year, it was reported that Abrahams had been appointed to head an internal
probe by the NPA into the prosecution of convicted former national police
commissioner Jackie Selebi. A misconduct complaint was
laid by Selebi’s family and lawyers that the prosecution team had not revealed all
the evidence in its possession during the former police commissioner’s trial.
Zuma said in a statement
on Thursday he was confident Abrahams’s appointment would enhance the efficiency
of the National Prosecuting Authority.
Abrahams has 17 years of experience in the prosecution service. During this
period, he has accumulated vast experience and has gained impeccable technical
expertise,” said Zuma.
Mhaga, spokesperson for the justice and correctional services ministry said
Abrahams was a determined prosecutor who loved his job.
needed someone with prosecutorial experience like Abrahams to lead the NPA,”
holds Baccalareus [B juris], Baccalaureus Procurationis [B Proc] and Bachelor of Laws [LLB] degrees from the University of Natal, now Kwa-Zulu Natal
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