Zuma ‘heeded our advice’: DA claims victory in Abrahams saga

The Democratic Alliance (DA) claimed victory in President Jacob Zuma’s decision to ask National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams to provide reasons as to why he should not be suspended from his position.

However‚ the president’s request was contained in documents that form part of Abrahams’ responding affidavit to submissions by Freedom Under Law (FUL) and the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) to Zuma asking him to suspend Abrahams.

 Despite this‚ the DA’s Mmusi Maimane said: “I had previously called for Abrahams to be suspended by the president in terms of section 12(6) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Act‚ and wrote to the president requesting he take this very action. We welcome president Zuma’s decision to heed our advice in this regard.”

This was in relation to the way in which the prosecution and subsequent withdrawal of charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and two former SA Revenue Service staff was handled.

Gordhan was to face two charges of fraud linked to his approval of early retirement for Ivan Pillay‚ a former SARS deputy commissioner‚ and then reappointing him on contract in 2010‚ during the minister’s first stint as head of the Treasury.

Zuma’s letter to Abrahams came after lawyers for the FUL and HSF last week served an urgent court application to order the president to suspend Abrahams.

“The Constitution requires him to act rationally – in this case‚ in our view to exercise his power to suspend. We are going to court to make sure the president does what the Constitution requires‚” the groups said at the time.

Despite this‚ Maimane claimed it as a DA win‚ saying: “We welcome this decision by the president to heed our call‚ and we implore him to now speed up the process by immediately suspending Abrahams pending a full parliamentary inquiry.”

He added that “Abrahams’ tenure has been amateurish and deeply tainted by political witch-hunts‚ which has brought the independence of the entire NPA into disrepute. We are of the firm view that Abrahams is unfit to hold the office of NDPP‚ and the intention to suspend him is welcomed”.

“There remains ample evidence to point to the fact that Abrahams is simply unfit to carry out his mandate at the NPA‚” Maimane said.

“His decision to announce charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan‚ without first reviewing the matter himself was wholly unacceptable – and knocked R50-billion out of our ailing economy in the process. Shockingly‚ Abrahams believes he owes no one an apology for this.”

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