Lobby groups seek alternatives in bid to have NPA head suspended

On Thursday, a full bench of judges in the High court in PTA struck the groups' application off the roll.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Lobby groups Freedom Under Law and the Helen Suzman Foundation say they’ll explore alternative options after failing in their bid to have National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams and two prosecutors suspended.

On Thursday, a full bench of judges in the High court in Pretoria struck their application off the roll for lack of urgency, with costs.

They argued that Abrahams must be suspended immediately in order to regain the NPA's integrity due to his handling of the prosecution of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

Judge Dunstan Mlambo says the relief sought by Freedom Under Law & the Helen Suzman Foundation had the potential of the court straying into the executive terrain and this could lead to the violation of the separation of powers.

Mlambo says the application lacked urgency and the judges believe President Jacob Zuma had acted reasonably by considering suspending Abrahams and the other two prosecutors when he asked them to provide reasons why they should not be suspended.

The civic rights groups argued that if Abrahams remains the head of the NPA it would be like allowing an incompetent pilot back into the cockpit.

The Helen Suzman Foundation's Francis Antonie says this matter is not over.

“There are still merits to consider and we will consider them, and we are consulting with our lawyers as we have been doing."

Legal teams for Zuma and the NPA argued that this application was premature and the groups should allow proper procedures to take place before rushing the president to make a decision on a very serious issue.

(Edited by Neo Koza)