Abrahams: ‘I will return to serve society’

Former national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams will be taking time out after being stripped of his position at the helm of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) by the Constitutional Court.

On Monday, the Constitutional court ruled that the termination of Abrahams’s predecessor — Mxolisi Nxasana, whose tenure as NDPP ended in May 2015 — was unconstitutional, thus removing Abrahams from his position.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was instructed by the court to appoint a new NDPP within 90 days of its order. On Tuesday, Ramaphosa appointed deputy NDPP Silas Ramaite as acting NDPP.

Abrahams — in his capacity as NDPP — appealed the December 2017 ruling by the Pretoria high court which would have seen him vacate his position in favour of Nxasana. The appeal was heard by the Constitutional Court in February.

In a message to his colleagues on Wednesday afternoon, Abrahams thanked those closest to him for the opportunity to head South Africa’s prosecutorial body.

“It was a tremendous honour and privilege for me to serve in the NPA in excess of 23 years, especially as the head of this all important institution over the last three years and seven weeks, albeit during the most volatile political period since the dawn of our young democracy. I am glad that I was at the helm at the time,” Abrahams said.

Abrahams said he would be taking this time to spend with his family, who he said have seen very little of him since taking up the position of NDPP.  “I thank my family, along with close friends and colleagues, for their continuous support, prayers and well wishes,” he said.

“It will be remiss of me not to thank the hardworking members of the NPA for their commitment to delivering justice to our citizenry during an extremely difficult financial and political period. As a career prosecutor I more than anyone understood their challenges.” 

Abrahams described himself as “a prosecutor at heart”, saying he would miss the work and his colleagues at the NPA.

“At this stage, I don’t know what the future holds, but I will not be lost to the legal fraternity. I look forward to serving society and the country going forward in a capacity in which I could meaningfully and impactfully contribute,” he wrote.

In June 2014 — following internal conflict within the senior leadership of the NPA — Zuma took a decision to institute a commission of inquiry into Nxasana’s fitness to hold office and informed him that he would be suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry. 

In February 2015, a commission of inquiry was formally appointed. However, a settlement was eventually reached between Zuma and Nxasana and the latter left the NPA, accepting a R17.3-million settlement.

In December 2017, the high court ordered Nxasana to pay back the R17.3-million paid to him, while Abrahams was ordered to vacate his office. President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was Zuma’s deputy at the time, was ordered to appoint a new NDPP.

Abrahams’s appeal had stalled this process and it was revealed in June this year that Ramaphosa was waiting for the court’s judgment on Abrahams before making a decision.

“I wish the acting NDPP and the future NDPP, along with the leadership of the NPA all the very best for the future,“ Abrahams added.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

Related stories

Unlawful payments and a solid state witness could sink Ace Magashule

Magashule’s personal assistant is working with prosecutors to reveal how the R255-million cash was moved

João Rodrigues, apartheid-era crimes and the question of a blanket amnesty

The former Security Branch officer is asking the SCA for a permanent stay of appeal in the prosecution of the murder of Ahmed Timol in 1971

‘Myeni obstructed the work of the Zondo commission’ — Hofmeyer

Advocate Kate Hofmeyr submitted that deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo should direct the secretary of the commission to lay a charge against Dudi Myeni for revealing the identity of secret witness ‘Mr X’

eThekwini municipal manager out on bail, but signing off tenders

The NPA is investigating eThekwini municipal manager Sipho Nzuza to determine whether he broke his bail conditions while back at work.

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Why crooks are shivering in their boots

Ace Magashule’s anxiety has to do with the array of arrests of high-profile people facing fraud and corruption charges

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Sudan’s government gambles over fuel-subsidy cuts — and people pay...

Economists question the manner in which the transitional government partially cut fuel subsidies

Traditional healers need new spaces

Proper facilities supported by well-researched cultural principles will go a long way to improving the image and perception of the practice of traditional medicine

Did Botswana execute ‘poachers’ ?

The Botswana Defence Force’s anti-poaching unit has long been accused of a ‘shoot to kill’ policy. Over 20 years the unit has killed 30 Namibians and 22 Zimbabweans

Limpopo big-game farmer accused of constant harassment

A family’s struggle against alleged intimidation and failure to act by the authorities mirrors the daily challenges farm dwellers face

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…