SA’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the removal of the previous national director of public prosecutions (NDPP), Mxolisi Nxasana, by former president Jacob Zuma, was unlawful and invalid. The appointment of his successor, Shaun Abrahams, was therefore also invalid. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is the body responsible for prosecuting criminal offences in SA. The constitution requires it to do so without fear, favour or prejudice. In its judgment, the court explained why the NPA must be independent: "The NPA plays a pivotal role in the administration of criminal justice. With a malleable, corrupt or dysfunctional prosecuting authority, many criminals — especially those holding positions of influence — will rarely, if ever, answer for their criminal deeds." The judges went on to say that, equally, functionaries within that prosecuting authority may be pressured into pursuing prosecutions "to advance a political agenda". The court noted that the prosecuting authority ha...

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