Questions surround appointment of new NPA boss

The Presidency this morning announced that Shaun Abrahams is taking over as the head of the NPA.

The new head of the National Prosecuting Authority, Shaun Abrahams. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - As the new head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says he's not speaking in public just yet, questions are being asked about why Advocate Shaun Abrahams was appointed so quickly.

The Presidency announced on Thursday morning that Abrahams is taking over the institution nearly three weeks after former head Mxolisi Nxasana resigned.

Abrahams is currently a senior prosecutor within the NPA.

DA justice spokesperson and former NPA Prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach says she's cynical about President Jacob Zuma's appointment.

"It took two years for the president to appoint Nxasana, and now after Nxasana leave, all of a sudden the senior prosecutor is appointed as the national head."

While the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution's (Casac) Lawson Naidoo is worried at how Zuma is able to make this appointment without having to legally consult any other body.

"That person is going to be entrusted with taking decisions about prosecutions in the country, generally, and the possible prosecution of the president in particular."

It's been claimed that the NPA has seen factional battles involving its deputy head Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba who's currently facing criminal charges.

ABRAHAMS'S DIFFICULT POSITION

Advocate Abrahams will be hoping that he could be the first National Director of Public Prosecutions to ever serve out a full 10-year term in the post.

Bulelani Ngcuka, Vusi Pikoli, Menzi Simelane and Nxasana were either suspended, fired, sidelined or took golden handshakes.

Crucially, and unlike his predecessors, Abrahams is a successful career prosecutor and has been appointed from within the organisation.

However, the NPA is deeply factionalised and Abrahams is seen as sitting firmly within the camp supporting Jiba.

It will be his actions that will have to demonstrate his independence and the objectivity of his office.

For the Presidency's full statement on the appointment, _ click here_.