President Jacob Zuma will appeal a high court ruling that has declared Shaun Abrahams’s appointment as national director of public prosecutions unlawful.
The presidency released a statement on Zuma’s behalf on Friday afternoon just three hours after the Pretoria high court had made the judgment.
“Whilst the President awaits a full briefing on the judgment, he has been advised that an early assessment displays, with respect, various grounds upon which a successful appeal may be prosecuted,” the presidency said.
The court was ruling on the R17-million golden handshake that saw the departure of previous National Prosecuting Authority head Mxolisi Nxasana, at a time when he threatened to investigate NPA leaders thought close to Zuma.
The court found that the nature of Nxasana’s departure was unlawful, which meant the post was not properly vacant when Abrahams was appointed to it.
But because Zuma is conflicted because of possible criminal prosecution, he could not be in charge of a fresh appointment, the court said.
The judgment said it would now fall on the deputy president, currently Cyril Ramaphosa, to appoint a new NPA boss.
In the statement, the presidency acknowledged the significant role of the NPA in South Africa and appointments made there are “not taken lightly”.
It was confirmed that Zuma will appeal the judgment in due course, seemingly on grounds that the court violated the separation of powers.
“Minded by the principle of the separation of powers, constitutional legality and the rule of law, the judgment will be appealed,” the presidency said.