12/03/2018 13:58 SAST | Updated 12/03/2018 13:58 SAST

Shaun Abrahams: In A Corner With Nobody To Save Him

The NPA chief's ally in the presidency is gone, the Constitutional Court is deciding on a matter against him, and Parliament is baying for his blood.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams in Parliament on November 4, 2016.
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National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) boss Shaun Abrahams in Parliament on November 4, 2016.


The walls are closing in from all sides on National Prosecuting Authority boss Shaun Abrahams – his job hanging in the balance as the courts and Parliament move against him.

The onslaught against the national director of public prosecutions began in December last year, when the High Court in Pretoria declared that Abrahams' placement at the helm of the NPA was invalid, since his predecessor Mxolisi Nxasana's appointment and exit on a huge and invalid golden handshake of R17-million was illegal.

READ: Abrahams' Last Chance To Argue To Keep His Job.

The court left the responsibility of appointing his replacement to president Cyril Ramaphosa, who at the time was Jacob Zuma's deputy. Zuma and Abrahams both appealed the decision – but with Msholozi now out of office, Abrahams has been left out in the cold to fight for his job.

In his state of the nation address, Ramaphosa said: "We will urgently attend to the leadership issues at the [NPA] to ensure that this critical institution is stabilised and able to perform its mandate unhindered." Afterwards, he withdrew the presidency's appeal.

Last month, Abrahams tried to convince the Constitutional Court that he should keep his job, and the court has reserved its judgment for now.

READ: Here's Why Shaun Abrahams Is Unfit To Hold Office.

But even if the court rules in his favour, he must still contend with Ramaphosa and Parliament.

According to the NPA Act 32 of 1998, Ramaphosa may provisionally suspend Abrahams pending an inquiry into his fitness to hold office on the grounds of misconduct, an incapacity to carry out his duties efficiently, or if he is no longer a "fit and proper person". A case could be made for each, especially if such is centred on Abrahams' apparent failure to confront state-capture allegations.

The act also states that Ramaphosa must axe Abrahams if Parliament finds him wanting on any of the grounds stated above.

And Parliament is already not impressed with him.

Earlier this month, a joint portfolio committee in Parliament grilled Abrahams for answers on the sluggish investigation into the Estina dairy farm project. The committee was left dissatisfied with Abrahams' answers, and opted to call another sitting.

HuffPost previously reported on our list of ideal candidates to replace Abrahams, should he get the boot. Some of these are:

1. Thuli Madonsela

As the country's celebrated former public protector, Madonsela was hailed for tackling allegations of state capture head on, and not shying away despite the political anxiety surrounding the matter. She was also fearless against Zuma while dealing with the Nkandla scandal.

Madonsela is a qualified and admitted advocate who remains faithful to the interests of justice and the nation as a whole.

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Former public protector Thuli Madonsela during the World Day of Social Justice at the Constitutional Hill on February 20, 2018 in Johannesburg.

2. Vusi Pikoli

Former president Thabo Mbeki suspended Pikoli as head of the NPA in 2007, citing a breakdown in relations between Pikoli and former justice minister Brigitte Mabandla.

But it was widely believed that Pikoli was axed because his office planned to arrest then-police boss, Jackie Selebi, on serious corruption allegations. A year later, Pikoli was fired by Mbeki's presidential successor, Kgalema Motlanthe.

Pikoli has a long and admirable career in law and serves as a member of the EU Foundation for Human Rights and the Magistrate's Commission. His track record in the NPA is unblemished, and he is familiar with the role.

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Former National Prosecuting Authority head Vusi Pikoli reads a document on August 6, 2009 in Johannesburg.

3. Mahomed Navsa

Navsa is a no-nonsense judge serving on the Supreme Court of Appeal. He has made headlines for his firm and meticulous handling of various high-profile cases, including an appeal by Zuma last year against a decision to have 783 counts of fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering against him reinstated.

In previous judgments, he put the crooked Fidentia boss J Arthur Brown away for 15 years, and ruled that the environmental plans of corporates should be public documents. In another case before him, he put former SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng through his paces.

Navsa would likely provide a stern hand while restoring the integrity of the NPA.

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Supreme Court of Appeal's judge Mahomed Navsa presides over the spy tape case.

4. Janet Love

Janet Love has just been appointed to the Independent Electoral Commission, but we think she would also be an ace national director of public prosecutions.

Love is a veteran anti-apartheid activist and freedom fighter. She is the immediate former national director of the legendary Legal Resources Centre. This means she would bring a strong sense of social justice to the NDPP, which the institution has lost as it has morphed into a political tool.

Love was a member of the management team at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) and was also an executive member of the Constitutional Assembly. She is thus a top legal eagle.

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA � SEPTEMBER 13: Commissioner; Janet Love during the Human Rights Commission hearing into mining-affected communities on September 13, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. During the hearing held in Braamfontein, it was heard that traditional leaders entered into deals with mining companies on behalf of communities. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo)

5. Dali Mpofu

He would have to give up the red beret – Dali Mpofu is an office bearer in the EFF. If he were to clamber out of the red overalls, he would make a good street-fighting national director of the NPA.

Mpofu has grown a great practice as an advocate – he often represents clients in the biggest public-defence cases. He's a hard-nosed street fighter, and he would be able to cut through the many factions and syndicates that have ruined the NPA.

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Advocate Dali Mpofu outside the Pretoria High Court during the State Capture report case on November 01, 2016 in Pretoria.

*Additional reporting by Ferial Haffajee