Court action over NPA head's fate set for today

A full bench of judges will today hear an application to force the president to suspend NPA head Shaun Abrahams.

FILE: NPA head Shaun Abrahams in the Old Assembly Building in Cape Town during a briefing. Picture: Anthony Molyneaux/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – A full bench of judges in the High Court in Pretoria is set to hear an application this morning to force President Jacob Zuma to suspend National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams.

Civic rights groups, Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation are bringing the application.

They also want advocates Torie Pretorius and Sibongile Mzinyathi to be suspended because of their handling of the prosecution of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The civic rights groups want the courts to force Zuma to suspend Abrahams pending an inquiry into his fitness to hold office.

They say the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) brought obviously baseless criminal charges against Gordhan and undermined respect for the criminal justice system, while punching a hole in the economy.

But the president has already written to Abrahams and the other two prosecutors, asking them to provide reasons why they should not be suspended.

They have until next Monday to do so.

It’s for this reason that the president believes the application is premature because he has not yet had time to consider their submissions.

It will be up to the judges to decide today whether there is sufficient urgency to actually hear the case.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)