South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has decided not to suspend the National Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv. Shaun Abrahams and two other colleagues who have been accused of acting improperly in a politically tainted case against the country’s finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
In a statement released today the presidency said Zuma will not suspend Abrahams, the North Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv. Sibongile Mzinyathi and the Acting Head of the Priority Crimes Litigation Unit, Dr Torie Pretorius. This is after their submissions to the President on why they should not be suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry into their fitness to hold office.
Zuma was forced to consider suspending the three officials after a complaint lodged by the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law. This is after they had charged, and soon withdrew the charges the charges, against Gordhan and former SARS official Ivan Pillay and Mr Oupa Magushula in case related to the so-called rogue unit.
The presidency statement said “In considering this matter the President had to place weight to the provisions of section 179 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 which guarantees the independence of the National Prosecuting Authority and those of its officials.
Having considered the submissions received from the three prosecutors and concerns raised by the Helen Suzman Foundation and Freedom Under Law regarding their conduct in as far as it relates to the decision to charge and review the charges against Minister Pravin Gordhan, Mr Ivan Pillay and Mr Oupa Magushula, the President could not find substantiation for the claim that Adv. Abrahams, Adv Mzinyathi and Dr Pretorius’s conducts were actuated by ulterior motive or any other improper motive which would give rise to a charge of misconduct or that they are no longer fit and proper to hold office.”
The statement added that “It is the President’s well considered view that there is no prima facie evidence pointing to the conduct of three prosecutors, constituting misconduct or lack of fitness and propriety to warrant the invocation of the provisions of section 12(6) read with 14(3) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act,.
Taking the aforementioned into consideration the President decided not to provisionally suspend Adv. Abrahams, Adv Mzinyathi and Dr Pretorius and hold an enquiry into their fitness to hold office as envisaged in section 12(6) read with 14(3) of the Act.”
Opposition parties and leaders of civil society have accused the NDP of being a porn in a political ploy that wants to capture the state and sees Gordhan as an obstacle.