Opposition reaction: Cautious praise greets Zuma’s ‘suspicious move’ against Abrahams

President Jacob Zuma’s decision to ask NDPP Shaun Abrahams to explain why he should not be suspended was a “suspicious move”, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said on Tuesday.

“It’s an interesting development. It’s a suspicious move by Zuma, especially that the NPA head withdrew charges against (Finance Minister Pravin) Gordhan.”

Holomisa said Zuma should state his reasons for intending to suspend Abrahams and be fair to him.

“Zuma should indicate what are his worries. Is it because of the charges related to the minister?” Holomisa advised the National Prosecuting Authority head to write back to Zuma to demand his reasons for wanting to suspend him. 

Meanwhile, Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said it was a calculated move by Zuma. 

“It is normal procedure, so that Zuma can say he has given him a hearing. It’s in keeping with the law.” 

Cope was of the view that Abrahams was unfit to hold office. The presidency on Tuesday said Zuma had asked Abrahams, director of public prosecutions Sibongile Mzinyathi and acting special director of public prosecutions Dr Torie Pretorius to make written representations why they should not be suspended or face an inquiry into their fitness to hold office.

Zuma’s decision followed a request by Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation for him to suspend the three advocates pending an inquiry into their fitness to hold office.

Both organisations had raised concerns about how the three advocates conducted the aborted prosecution of Minister Pravin Gordhan, former deputy SA Revenue Service commissioner Ivan Pillay, and former Sars commissioner Oupa Magashula on fraud charges.

DA calls for Parly inquiry
DA leader Mmusi Maimane on Tuesday welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s letter to Shaun Abrahams, and also called for a parliamentary inquiry into the national director of public prosecutions.

This would allow Parliament to hold the executive to account, and ensure that those with executive power were fit for the job, Maimane said.

“Abrahams’s tenure has been amateurish and deeply tainted by political witch-hunts, which has brought the independence of the entire National Prosecuting Authority into disrepute,” Maimane said.

“We are of the firm view that Abrahams is unfit to hold the office of national director of public prosecutions, and the intention to suspend him is welcomed.”

Maimane said there was ample evidence that Abrahams was unfit for the job. His first act as NDPP was to drop charges against former acting NDPP, Nomgcobo Jiba, and promote her. He wasted millions of rands of public money appealing the “spy tapes” ruling, despite the DA repeatedly winning in court on the matter.

The country could not have NDPPs who were hand-picked by Zuma, given a mandate not to prosecute him on corruption charges, and then discarded, Maimane said.

He said the DA would introduce a Constitutional Amendment Bill that would ensure that a 60% vote in the National Assembly was required to appoint an NDPP.

“This will go a long way in halting the abuse of the NPA for political reasons,” he said. – News24

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