President Jacob Zuma will oppose efforts to confirm a high court order that would remove National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams and put deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa in charge of selecting his replacement, the state attorney said on Thursday afternoon.
This is in part because the high court “erred in law in holding to be constitutionally permissible to have two presidents in the country at the same time and both exercising presidential powers”, the state attorney said in a notice of opposition filed in the Constitutional Court.
Zuma had until Friday to say if he would oppose an application by three civil society organisations for a Concourt confirmation of the high court decision.
Zuma provided just two reasons for opposing such confirmation: the impossibility of having two presidents and opposition to the proposition that he could simultaneously be unable to appoint an NPA head yet continue to otherwise function as president.
The high court found that because Zuma faced possible criminal charges himself, he was conflicted in the appointment of the top prosecutor. It then invoked a Constitutional provision that deals with a president unable to exercise his power.
Zuma’s legal team has held throughout that being “unable” to function as president in terms of the Constitution must be an all-or-nothing calculation; the president can either fulfil all his duties or none of them.
Zuma has also sought leave to appeal the high court decision.