Shaun Abrahams upbeat despite being ‘officially unemployed’
The former National Director of Public Prosecutions says, ‘life is not always fair’ — but you have to do something positive with the lemons thrown at you
Former National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams has confirmed that he is "officially unemployed" but maintains he is positive about his future.
"I’m taking this on the chin‚" he told TimesLIVE. "I love the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). It’s been my life. It’s been my career. But the reality is that life must go on. Life is not always fair and‚ because life is not always fair‚ you need to take the lemons thrown at you and try to do something positive."
On Monday, the Constitutional Court ruled that Abrahams’s appointment was a consequence of an unconstitutional "abuse of power" by former president Jacob Zuma. The court found that Zuma had effectively "bought" the removal of former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana with a R17.3m "golden handshake". His subsequent appointment of Abrahams was, therefore, invalid.
Abrahams‚ who has been involved in prosecution cases since the age of 18‚ says he was "disappointed" by the decision, "but I don’t regret that I took this job. It would have been naïve of me to not see that this position is somewhat of a poisoned chalice. I was always a prosecutor‚ not a politician. I feel like I walked away with my head held high".
Abrahams would not be drawn on how he felt about being referred to as "Shaun the sheep" and repeatedly facing accusations that he was nothing more than a political puppet. "I do have an innate ability to shut things out and to just keep going. That’s what I did."
He admits that his decision to publicly announce his withdrawal of the fraud case against former finance minister Pravin Gordhan‚ just two weeks after announcing that Gordhan had a case to answer‚ played a significant part in driving negative perceptions of him. "I felt I owed it to the citizenry to take them into my confidence‚ but that did not go well."
For now‚ Abrahams says he doesn’t know what he will do. "I want to spend time with my family and take time to reflect on my future. At this stage‚ I don’t know what the future holds — but I will not be lost to the legal fraternity. I look forward to serving society and the country going forward in a capacity in which I could meaningfully contribute."