Zuma files appeal papers in NPA boss saga

Bheki Cele

Johannesburg — President Jacob Zuma has filed an application for leave to appeal a North Gauteng High Court ruling that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should appoint a National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

In his notice of appeal, filed in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, Zuma said the court “erred in law in holding to be Constitutionally permissible to have two presidents in the country at the same time and both exercising presidential powers”.

On Friday, the High Court gave Ramaphosa two months to appoint a new head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) after it declared the post vacant.

Judge President Dunstan Mlambo ruled that current NDPP Shaun Abrahams should vacate his seat.

“In our view, President Zuma would clearly be conflicted in having to appoint a NDPP, given the background to which we have referred, particularly the ever-present spectre of the many criminal charges against him that have not gone away,” Mlambo said.

The court declared that, “as long as the incumbent president is in office, the deputy president is responsible for decisions relating to the appointment, suspension or removal of the NDPP”.

But, in his papers, Zuma said: “The court erred in law in holding that the applicant is ‘unable’ to perform his powers as president in relation to the National Director of Public Prosecutions and yet able to perform his other functions as President. A position not authorised by the Constitution.

“The court erred in law and the order is not just and equitable within the meaning of s 172(1)(b) of the Constitution in granting the above-mentioned order as against the applicant.”

Freedom Under Law (FUL), Corruption Watch (CW) and the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) had gone to court seeking an order declaring former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana’s removal invalid.

Nxasana accepted a golden handshake from Zuma, worth R17.3m, and left the NPA in 2015.

Before that, an inquiry into his fitness to hold office was abruptly halted without explanation.

The organisations wanted his removal set aside and the golden handshake repaid.

During the hearing in November, the court heard that Zuma tried to “bully” Nxasana out of office by using an inquiry into his fitness. — Sapa

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