The South African Federation of Trade Unions welcomes the important court judgement in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on 8 December 2017.
The Court unanimously ruled that the settlement in 2015 between President Zuma and former National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Mxolisi Nxasana, was invalid and must be set aside. It also declared as invalid Nxasana’s “golden handshake” of R17 million which he received in return for agreeing to vacate his office, and he was ordered to pay it back.
The judgement also declared that Zuma’s appointment of Shaun Abrahams as NDPP was invalid and must be set aside and it ordered Abrahams to immediately vacate his post.
SAFTU welcomes this in the light of its criticism of Abrahams for shielding Zuma‚ who is disputing 783 counts related to corruption and fraud for several years. The federation has also criticised his role in pursuing criminal charges against former finance minister Pravin Gordhan.
The Court further ruled that, as it would not be just and equitable to reinstate Nxasana, a new NDPP Director must be appointed within 60 days and that this appointment must be made by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, because President Jacob Zuma is facing criminal prosecution himself and was conflicted when appointing Abrahams.
Judge Dunstan Mlambo declared that “As long as the incumbent president is in office, the deputy present is responsible for decisions relating to the appointment, suspension or removal of the National Director of Public Prosecutions.”
SAFTU congratulates the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, Corruption Watch and Freedom Under Law who had approached the high court to set aside the 2015 agreement between Nxasana and Zuma. They achieved what is probably a bigger victory than they had expected.
The federation is not surprised that the Presidency has already announced its intention to appeal, again paid for by the South African taxpayers. Should the appeal not be allowed or rejected by the supreme Court pf Appeal, SAFTU demands that Ramaphosa appoints an independent and qualified replacement.
He or she should then immediately take action to charge all those against whom there is prima facie evidence of corruption, fraud, money-laundering or any of the other serious crimes which are being uncovered. Let us hope that this court judgement is a turning point and that we shall now see a serious drive to rid south Africa of corruption!