National director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams made today’s deadline to submit documents to the presidency on why he should not be suspended as head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Abrahams and two of his colleagues, Torie Pretorius and Sibongile Mzinyathi, were called by President Jacob Zuma to make their submissions after the NPA laid fraud charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and former senior South African Revenue Service officials Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay on October 11 and then dropped the charges on October 31.
Abrahams dropped the charges against the three after he admitted that the NPA did not have reason to believe that the three had acted unlawfully.
Zuma wrote to Abrahams just before the decision to withdraw the charges became public.
“I hereby afford you an opportunity to make written representations as to why I should not place you on suspension pending the outcome of an inquiry into your fitness to hold office,” Zuma wrote in a letter to Abrahams.
The president later said that no definitive decision had been made on whether an inquiry on Abrahams’ fitness to hold office would take place.
Last week, an application brought by the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law to force Zuma to suspend Abrahams was removed from the court roll. The court found that the applicants had acted too quickly without considering Zuma’s request for more time.
“It’s unreasonable of the applicant to rush and launch an application ignoring his [Zuma’s] request for more time,” said Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo.
Zuma will now review Abrahams’ reasons before deciding on the fate of the NPA boss and whether an inquiry into his fitness to hold office will be necessary.