JOHANNESBURG, South Africa's National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, will argue alone at the Constitutional Court here Wednesday that his appointment is valid following the setting aside of his appointment by a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Abrahams and former President Jacob Zuma -- who appointed to head the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) -- took the matter to the highest court in the land, but President Ramaphosa, who last week replaced Zuma as president, has withdrawn the Presidency's appeal against the High Coirt decision.

Of the seven holders of the title of National Director of Public Prosecutions since 1994, three were appointed during the administrations of former presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe's tenures in 17 years.

However, Jacob Zuma alone went through four NPA bosses in his nine years as president. All seven had to deal with corruption charges relating to Zuma and the last one and incumbent Abrahams is now appealing a High Court decision nullifying his appointment, because Zuma may have appointed him, believing he would be lenient.

Abrahams was appointed head of the NPA by Zuma in 2015 and in 2016 The North Gauteng High Court ruled that the decision by the NPA to drop corruption charges was irrational. Zuma and the NPA appealed, but the Court of Appeal upheld the lower court's ruling to reinstate the charges.

Following that appeal, it was left to the NPA to charge or not to charge Zuma. Abrahams gave Zuma 30 days to state why he should not be charged by the end of November 2017, and then extended that deadline by another month.

Zuma made submissions just hours before the second deadline of Jan 31, 2018. Abrahams gave prosecutors two weeks to recommend a decision and they did, but he still has not made the announcement regrading the recommendation.

Abrahams's appointment was challenged by advocacy group Freedom Under Law, and on Dec 8, last year, � the North Gauteng High Court set it aside. The court also ruled that Zuma was conflicted and could not appoint a successor, and went further to say that then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should make the appointment within 60 days.

Both Zuma and Abrahams appealed this ruling, but now that Ramaphosa is President, and not conflicted, it is not clear if he can effect the High Court decision.

Ramaphosa has also withdrawn the Presidency's appeal, leaving Abrahams to argue his future alone. But analysts say the issue of who should assume the powers of the President when the president is conflicted as in Zuma's case still needs to be answered.


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