SOUTH AFRICA’S TOP COURT RESERVES JUDGMENT IN CASE AGAINST HEAD OF NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY

JOHANNESBURG, The Constitutional Court, South Africa's supreme court, has reserved judgement in a case brought various advocacy groups such as Freedom Under Law, Corruption Watch and others seeking to confirm that the appointment of Shaun Abrahams as head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is illegal.

The parties are seeking a confirmation order regarding the December judgment by the High Court in Pretoria, which declared the appointment of Abrahams as NPA boss unlawful.

The Constitutional Court has heard submissions from civil society legal representatives on why the order should be set aside. Abrahams' legal representative, Hilton Epstein, says there is no suggestion that his client is not fit to hold office.

Epstein was making argument Wednesday in the Constitutional Court where former President Jacob Zuma's selection of Abrahams to replace former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana was being considered.

Nxasana received a massive 17 million Rand (about 1,44 million US dollars) golden handshake.

Abrahams has been accused of protecting Zuma and his supporters from prosecution since being appointed as NPA boss.

Epstein challenged the Constitutional Court to sort the massive payment to Nxasana, saying it was irrational. He said Nxasana was free to resign, but should have lost his benefits payment.

Earlier, Justice Azhar Cachalia warned legal representatives of civil society organizations who are determined to see Abrahams vacating his position to bring constructive evidence to support their view. Justice Cachalia said the High Court would not be justified in making a finding that Shaun Abrahams aligned himself with former president Zuma when that has not been tested.

Meanwhile, counsel for former NPA head Nxasana maintains her client was entitled to the 17 million Rand golden handshake he received to vacate his post as he was subjected to very difficult circumstances by Zuma.

Nxasana's advocate, Michelle Le Roux, argued that her client faced an untenable situation where NPA senior officials such as Nomgcobo Jiba allegedly plotted against him by inter-acting directly with Zuma.

The justice minister and Zuma failed Nxasana, she added. It came to a point where he said 'I am here as per my contract, I am being prevented from doing my job by the number one citizen in the land. So he was ultimately entitled to his contractual worthhis position was � you want me out, then I am entitled to the value of the contract.

Le Roux argued that Nxasana agreed to pay back the 17 million Rand and continued assisting parties to get to the bottom of what happened in the long drawn case.

In December last year, the North Gauteng High Court set aside current NPA boss Shaun Abrahams' appointment as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) and ruled that President Cyril Ramaphosa appoint a new NPA boss, and that Nxasana repay the golden handshake.

Nxasana wants the Constitutional Court to admit his condonation so that his version of the events can be heard. Le Roux said it was unfair for the high court to label her client as a man with a price and that he committed to paying back the money.

However, Hiton Epstein, for the NPA, argued that Nxasana, after taking the payment and leaving the NPA in June 2015, never sought to return.

Source: NAM News Network