Although Shaun Abrahams has been accused of delaying his decisions and outright refusing to prosecute allies of former president Jacob Zuma, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha said he has “full confidence in Shaun Abrahams”.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Masutha detailed a conversation he had with the former president where Zuma explained that he had appointed Abrahams because “he was already working for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)” and “had the required skills and experience”.
Before Abrahams’ appointment as the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) in June 2015, he was an advocate in the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit, and he had served as a member of senior management within the NPA.
In February this year, Abrahams approached the Constitutional Court to appeal the Pretoria high court’s 2017 decision that he should vacate his office. The Constitutional Court heard the appeal, but judgment had been reserved.
The Pretoria high court made the order after it found that Zuma had unlawfully removed Abraham’s predecessor, former NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana in May 2015.
In the same interview, Bloomberg had reported that Masutha said he had supported the 2016 decision to charge then finance minister Pravin Gordhan, along with Ivan Pillay and former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner Oupa Magashule, with fraud in relation to their authorisation of Pillay’s early retirement in 2010, which saw him receive full benefits.
In March this year, Masutha defended Abrahams before the National Assembly when he was answering IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa’s question regarding whether or not Abrahams was “unfit” to continue his job.
News 24 reported in March that Masutha said Abrahams’ professional conduct during his interactions with him was nothing “short of stellar” adding that he was “skilled, competent and experienced”.