Vusi Pikoli. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON
Vusi Pikoli. Picture: TREVOR SAMSON

Former national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Vusi Pikoli, former auditor-general Terence Nombembe and prosecuting authority director in the Western Cape Rodney de Kock are the three people being considered for the post of the head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Business Day understands that these are the names under consideration by President Cyril Ramaphosa after the constitutional Court removed current NPA head Shaun Abrahams from office.

However, an NDPP must be an advocate, which would make Nombembe unlikely as he is a chartered accountant. The apex court has given Ramaphosa 90 days to appoint a new prosecuting authority head.

The presidency said it was studying the bombshell judgment. Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Khusela Diko, said in a statement on Monday that the presidency, in studying the judgment, was cognisant of the order of the court directing the President to appoint an NDPP within 90 days of the directive.

"In studying this judgment, the presidency is guided by the undertaking given by President Cyril Ramaphosa in the February 2018 state of the nation address that SA’s law enforcement institutions would be strengthened and shielded from external interference or manipulation. President Ramaphosa also undertook that urgent attention would be given to leadership issues at the NPA “to ensure that this critical institution is stabilised and able to perform its mandate unhindered”," Diko said.

She said steps to be taken arising from the Constitutional Court judgment would be communicated in due course.

Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, reading the judgment in court on Monday, said the way in which former NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana left office was inconsistent with the constitution and was thus invalid.

WATCH: The Constitutional Court finds NDPP Shaun Abrahams's appointment invalid

SA’s highest court ruled on August 13 2018 that advocate Shaun Abrahams was not validly appointed to lead the NPA because he had benefited from former president Jacob Zuma’s abuse of power. Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga, writing on behalf of the Constitutional Court’s majority, found that Zuma had used a R17,3m 'golden handshake' to get rid of former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana.

He said Abrahams’s appointment was a consequence of Nxasana’s resignation, and that a consequential act was only valid for as long as the earlier act was not set aside.

"It follows that the appointment of Abrahams is also constitutionally invalid," Madlanga said.

The confirmation application was brought by the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, Freedom Under Law and Corruption Watch, following a bombshell judgment in the High Court in Pretoria in December that reviewed and set aside Abrahams’s appointment as NDPP. The Constitutional Court confirmed this order.

The high court had ordered Nxasana to pay back the R17m golden handshake he received from the government. This was confirmed by the Constitutional Court.