13 August 2018
Freedom Under Law (FUL) welcomes the judgment delivered today by the Constitutional Court in which it held that the termination of Mr Mxolisi Nxasana’s position as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) and the monetary settlement granted him were constitutionally invalid and that the subsequent appointment of Mr Shaun Abrahams as NDPP was also invalid. It also welcomes the Court’s order that the President is to appoint a new NDPP within 90 days.
FUL, together with Corruption Watch, brought the initial application to challenge the termination and settlement, believing these subverted the independence of the NDPP and the NPA. FUL is confident today’s judgment holds out the prospect of a reconstructed, revitalised NPA, with persons of unimpeachable integrity at its helm, able to fully play its vital role in securing criminal justice and constitutional democracy and with the public’s confidence that it is able to dispense justice without fear or favour.
FUL salutes Mr Nxasana, without whose assistance the true record of then President Zuma’s efforts to oust him from office would never have been disclosed. It will watch with interest the appointment of the next NDPP.
19 July 2018
Freedom Under Law (FUL) has instructed its lawyers to write to the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams, seeking clarity as to the presence of Nomgcobo Jiba, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions currently on special leave, at the offices of the NPA. This follows reports that Ms Jiba has visited the NPA’s offices on at least two occasions in the past six months. If true, Ms Jiba’s attendance at the NPA’s offices would be in clear violation of the order of North Gauteng High Court delivered in December 2017.
The Court held that the decision taken by Mr Abrahams to withdraw charges of fraud and perjury against Ms Jiba, was irrational and was to be set aside. It also found that the failure by then President Zuma not to suspend and institute inquiries into the fitness of Ms Jiba and Mr Lawrence Mrwebi was irrational and that it should be set aside.
Mindful of the importance of public confidence in the NPA as a law enforcement agency, the Court held that ‘the continued presence of such high profile officers in their positions under the current circumstances, even for one day longer, should not be countenanced.” For this reason, and faced with the privileged access Abrahams had granted the pair when placing them on special leave, the Court devised a specific order, prohibiting Ms Jiba and Mr Mrwebi, pending the prosecution to finality of appeals, from performing any function relating to their offices in the NPA and from presenting themselves to the NPA offices and/or engaging in any discussion concerning any pending cases under consideration by the NPA.
That Ms Jiba is now reported to have visited the NPA’s headquarters in Pretoria twice over the past six months, so flouting the Court’s order, only serves to underline her unfitness for any role within the NPA, let alone that of key official. But that this happens with Mr Abrahams still at the helm of the NPA, even without reference to his past history of granting Ms Jiba special concessions, is a reminder to the South African public and our President of the importance of restoring integrity and professionalism to this beleaguered institution. And that this requires urgent change to its top leadership.