The Democratic Alliance has hailed a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, against embattled NPA boss Shaun Abrahams, saying that it has demonstrated that he is unfit for high office and that he should vacate his office.
DA MP and party justice spokesperson Glynnis Breytenbach – a former NPA advocate – congratulated Freedom Under Law, which took the application to court, and said that the judgment confirms that those who flout the rule of law will be held to account.
On Thursday, the court set aside Abrahams' withdrawal of charges against his deputy, Nomgcobo Jiba. It also set aside President Jacob Zuma's decision not to institute disciplinary proceedings against Jiba and colleague, Special Director of Public Prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi.
Jiba was charged with perjury and fraud for the process she followed in charging former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen with racketeering. In August 2015, Abrahams withdrew the charges against Jiba.
In a judgment handed down on Thursday, Judge Gregory Wright pointed out that Abrahams' reasoning for discontinuing the prosecution was wrong in law.
He also found that Abrahams was incorrect in his view that Jiba and Mrwebi were doing their jobs well.
Judge Wright explained that Marshall Mokgathle - the regional head of the specialised commercial crimes unit's opinion regarding section 78 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act clearly played a role in his recommendation to Abrahams on whether or not to continue the prosecution of Jiba.
Abrahams mentioned it at a press conference when he announced that the prosecution would not continue, Wright said.
The inference is inescapable that it formed an at least appreciable or significant part of the reasoning of Mr Abrahams in taking his decision.
However, the court found that it was wrong in law, saying that the section of the Act was intended to protect people from liability for things done in good faith.
"The charges against Ms Jiba are criminal, rather than civil in nature and allege intentional wrongdoing. It cannot have been the intention of the legislature that section 78 would provide immunity against the criminal charges preferred against Ms Jiba."
The court said that, for this reason alone, Abrahams' decision could not stand.
Judge Wright also pointed out that it was clear that Abrahams' view that Jiba and Mrwebi were doing their jobs well, played a significant role in President Jacob Zuma's decision not to institute enquiries against them.
Serious and adverse judicial findings
However, Abrahams' opinion was "clearly wrong", he said.
"Nowhere in the respondents' papers is any reason offered how any person in Mr Abrahams' position could reasonably, let alone, rationally, think that Ms Jiba and Mr Mrwebi were doing their jobs well in light of the serious and adverse judicial findings against them," he added.
Breytenbach commented: "Once again, the actions of Shaun Abrahams have been sharply called into question by our courts. Today's judgment, effectively setting aside the clearly irrational and expedient decision by Abrahams to withdraw fraud and perjury charges against Jiba, has demonstrated again that he is unfit for high office. The sooner he vacates that position, the sooner the work to reverse the capture of the NPA can begin."
She added that it was unsurprising that Zuma had also "once again been found wanting".
"Jiba and Mwrebi should now face the consequences of their actions and be held accountable for the damage they have wrought," Breytenbach said.