/ 7 February 2018

ConCourt to hear NPA golden handshake appeal

The NPA still wants the settlement agreement between Zuma and Nxasana set aside
The NPA still wants the settlement agreement between Zuma and Nxasana set aside

The Constitutional Court is set to hear the appeal in the case involving former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Mxolisi Nxasana and the future of his successor, Shaun Abrahams.

Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) executive secretary Lawson Naidoo confirmed to News24 that the hearing had been set down for February 28.

READ MORE: Who’s lying? Nxasana vs Zuma

“We certainly think this [is the end of Abrahams],” Naidoo said.

“I think the NPA has been an institution that has brought itself into disrepute in recent times through its own actions.”

Naidoo said he believed the court would come to the same conclusion the high court came to in December.

“The NPA needs a clean-out starting with the National Director of Public Prosecutions… The last few years have been an indication of the rot at the institution.”

‘Civil society must remain vigilant’

He said it was time for major changes within the NPA, including establishing “a new culture” where ordinary prosecutors who work hard are empowered.

Naidoo said even if there were wholesome changes within the institution, civil society organisations would have to remain vigilant and continue acting as “guardians of the Constitution”.

NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed it had already filed its appeal papers.

“All that matters is that we have filed our papers and they will be argued in court. We need to respect the court and can’t preempt court processes,” he said.

“We firmly believe that we have prospects of prosecuting this appeal successfully,” he said.

President Jacob Zuma filed papers stating the grounds for the appeal, including that the court erred in holding that Zuma, who was found to be “conflicted”, was unable to exercise his powers as president in terms of appointing a National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), but that he was able to perform his other functions as president.

New appointment

This was a position not authorised by the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the NPA filed an appeal against the ruling that the appointment of Abrahams was invalid.

“It is respectfully submitted that the court a quo erred in reviewing, declaring invalid and setting aside the appointment of Advocate Shaun Abrahams… as NDPP on the grounds that there was no vacancy in that office into which Abrahams could be appointed,” the application argues.

The NPA, however, still wants the settlement agreement between Zuma and Nxasana set aside, and the R17.3-million he received paid back.

Freedom under Law, Corruption Watch and Casac went to court seeking an order declaring Nxasana’s removal invalid.

Nxasana accepted a golden handshake from President Zuma worth R17.3-million and left the NPA in 2015.

On December 8, 2017, the high court ruled that NPA head Abrahams must vacate his seat.

The court further ruled that it would not be just for Nxasana to be reinstated.

READ MORE: What will become of Shaun Abrahams when Zuma is president no more?

The ruling stated that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa must appoint a new NDPP within next 60 days. – News24