Justice in the balance: NPA boss Shaun Abrahams blames the authority’s problems on a declining levels of expertise in the police and a decrease in the number of productive court hours.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will consider its approach and make a decision at a later stage regarding the so-called spy tapes, NPA head Shaun Abrahams has said.
Addressing Parliament’s justice committee on Wednesday, Abrahams said the Constitutional Court had issued an order that it was not in the interests of justice to hear the NPA at this stage.
“Emphasis being on ‘this stage’. We the leadership of this institution are consulting with the senior council on the matter and we are currently considering the matter.”
They had not yet had a chance to make a decision following the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision on Wednesday that President Jacob Zuma’s lawyers must argue why he should be granted leave to appeal against a High Court ruling that he should face corruption charges.
“The application for leave to appeal is referred for oral argument in terms of 17(2) of the Superior Courts Act 10 of 2013. The parties must be prepared, if called upon to do so, to address the court on the merits,” the Supreme Court of Appeal said in an order handed down on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, a full bench of the High Court in Pretoria overturned the NPA’s decision to drop 783 corruption charges against Zuma. It ordered that the charges be reinstated. In June, the High Court denied the NPA leave to appeal.
Update on Jiba, Mrwebi
A decision on the way forward would be made in due course, Abrahams told the committee when he was invited to make comments on current issues.
Abrahams also updated the committee on Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba and her colleague, special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi, who were struck off the roll in September.
The two were then placed on special leave, at their request.
Abrahams said there was a misunderstanding that he, as head of NPA, had the power to suspend individuals that had been appointed by the president.
“I don’t have that power.”
He said the DA had written to him regarding the matter, raising critical questions and he had responded.
The president was currently considering the matter, he said.
Asked what it meant to be on special leave, Abrahams said if the two wanted to return, they had to submit an application and give notice for special leave to be withdrawn before it would be considered.
“In this case the individuals [now] don’t enjoy the powers they usually enjoy while on duty. They are on special leave, away from the office. They do not participate at all in the institution.”
Abrahams also took the time to assure the committee that the NPA was equipped to deal with the cases resulting from the current #FeesMustFall protests across the country.
They were working very closely with all stakeholders in the criminal justice cluster to bring an end to the conflict, he told MPs.
The protests had serious ramifications for the country, he said, and required law enforcement to work together. — News24