The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) on Wednesday said it had put the country’s prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams “on notice” not to make a decision about whether to prosecute former President Jacob Zuma until the Constitutional Court hands down its ruling.
Casac was referring to its application, along with Corruption Watch and Freedom Under Law, to the Constitutional Court to confirm a December 8 high court ruling which effectively declared Abrahams’ appointment null and void as a result of an unlawful R17.3 million golden handshake paid to his predecessor Mxolisi Nxasana. The high court also ruled that deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa appoint a new director of public prosecutions within 60 days. Both Zuma and the NPA intend to appeal the high court judgment.
“On 9 December 2017 the NPA announced that Mr Abrahams had extended the deadline for representations by the President [on why he should not be charged] until 31 January 2017. We assume that Mr Abrahams and the NPA intend to make a decision on the institution of criminal proceedings against the President after this date,” Casac said in a letter to the State Attorney, who is represeting Abrahams.
“In light of the directions of the Chief Justice and the judgment handed down by Mlambo JP on 8 December 2017, it is not permissible for Mr Abrahams to make a decision on the institution of charges against the President pending the outcome of the confirmation application in the Constitutional Court.”
Casac has given Abrahams until Friday, January 5 to make several undertakings.
These include that Abrahams and the NPA defer any decision on Zuma’s prosecution until “the Constitutional Court hands down its decision in the confirmation application”.
“Alternatively, if Mr Abrahams and the NPA do intend to make a decision, they will give our client two weeks advance notice of their intention to do so,” the letter said.
“If they fail to do so, Casac reserves its right to apply to court for an order interdicting Mr Abrahams and the NPA from taking a decision pending the outcome of the confirmation proceedings in the Constitutional Court. If required to do so, Casac will seek a personal costs award against Mr Abrahams.”
A deadline for Zuma to make representations on why he should not face 783 counts of fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering was originally set for November 30 before the extension was granted.