National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/ REUTERS
National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams. Picture: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/ REUTERS

The Constitutional Court has paved the way for National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams to announce his decision on whether former president Jacob Zuma will face corruption charges.

On Wednesday, the court dismissed an urgent application lodged by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) in a bid to stop Abrahams from making such an announcement until the same court had made a finding on whether he would remain in his job.

This means Abrahams will be able to make an announcement on whether Zuma should face the charges after March 15.

NPA spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said on Wednesday that after the deadline, Abrahams would inform Zuma of his decision before making an announcement to the public.

It was not clear when this announcement would be made.

In 2017, the High Court in Pretoria set aside Abrahams’s appointment, also finding at the time that Zuma, who was then president, was too conflicted to appoint a new national director of public prosecutions.

This was because the former president was facing the possibility of being prosecuted for corruption, money laundering, fraud and racketeering.

Two days before the confirmation hearing regarding the post of national director of public prosecutions at the Constitutional Court, Abrahams had written to Casac saying he was ready to make an announcement on whether Zuma should be prosecuted.

He had also asked the council if it would waive the two-week notice period he had undertaken to give Casac before issuing his public announcement.

Casac refused to waive the two-week notice period and instead approached the court to interdict Abrahams.

However, in dismissing Casac’s application, the Constitutional Court said the urgency of the matter was “self-created” by the lobby group.

Despite the court finding against the council, its executive secretary, Lawson Naidoo, said the danger of Abrahams making an announcement was that it would “open it up to review proceedings”. Casac had argued this point in its court papers,

“[This will] lead to a further delay in the process, whereas our argument was that a delay by a few weeks to wait for the Constitutional Court decision in the main case would be a lesser delay,” said Lawson.

It has been an almost 10-year legal battle by the DA to have Zuma face his various corruption charges.

The matter was put into Abrahams’s hands after the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a high court judgment in 2017 that the 2009 decision to drop the charges against Zuma had been irrational.

Zuma, however, was allowed to make fresh representations to the prosecuting authority before a decision was made.

Just two weeks after that decision, the ANC recalled Zuma and a day later he resigned.

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