'Abrahams must go!' Calls for NPA boss to resign or be disbarred

Shaun Abrahams is facing a backlash after he said the NPA is withdrawing charges against Pravin Gordhan.

National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams addresses the media on charges being dropped against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and two former SARS employees Ivan Pillay and Oupa Magashula at the NPA's head office in Pretoria. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - There are widespread calls for National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams to resign or be disbarred following his U-turn on the prosecution of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and former South African Revenue Service bosses Oupa Magashula and Ivan Pillay.

Abrahams is facing a backlash after Mondays announcement that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is withdrawing charges against Gordhan, Magashula and Pillay.

Several political parties, civil society organisations and commentators say Abrahams must now resign if the NPA is to retain any credibility.

But the NDPP says he will not go.

“The second question was: Will I resign? Certainly not, certainly not," he said during a press conference called to announce the decision to drop the fraud charges.

Abrahams was also vague about whether any other heads would roll at the NPA following this debacle.

The Economic Freedom Fighters has written to the chairperson of the General Council of the Bar (GCB) asking it to disbar Abrahams, listing numerous reasons for it to do so.

It says it's unprecedented, inexplicable and unjustifiable that Abrahams met with political leaders at Luthuli House the day before charging Gordhan.

It also argues he acted under political pressure to refer frivolous crimes to a priority crime unit and then still retained the right to review the prosecution.

The GCB can bring an application for Abrahams to be struck from the roll if he is not a fit and proper person or the president can choose to institute an inquiry into his fitness to hold office.

Meanwhile, Freedom Under Law head and former Constitutional Court judge Johann Kriegler says he has no faith in the ability of Abrahams to make the right decisions in the post.

He says it seems Abrahams doesn't know what he's doing.

“I think he’s a man that doesn’t understand the enormity of the harm that he personally has done.”

[WATCH] Pravin Gordhan, Oupa Magashula & Ivan Pillay are off the hook

MORAL FIBRE

Former African National Congress treasurer general Mathews Phosa says if Abrahams had any moral fibre he would have admitted that he made a mistake and stepped down from his position today.

Phosa says he wants the GCB to investigate Abrahams and his fitness to hold office.

He says he wrote to the president weeks ago asking him to investigate the charges levelled against Gordhan.

Phosa believes the charges were baseless from the start and Abrahams should be held accountable.

“This man is not fit and proper to hold that office and all I can say is #AbrahamsMustFall because there was never basis to charge this man, but he did; he conducted an investigation in the media, went to a press briefing and said he’s going to charge Gordhan.”

LAUGHING STOCK

Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane says Abrahams is making a laughing stock of the institution.

Ndungane is one of many voices in the calls for Abrahams to resign or be disbarred.

The Archbishop says for Abrahams to be so dismissive of the matter is unacceptable.

“It was for the people of South Africa, not the privileged people hoping to see themselves in the executive and therefore they have got to think very hard in terms of how the people on the ground are feeling.”