President Cyril Ramaphosa has withdrawn the presidency’s appeal against a Pretoria high court ruling which ordered National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams to vacate his position.

The presidency, under former president Jacob Zuma’s leadership, filed an application to appeal a December ruling by Judge President Dunstan Mlambo that Abrahams must leave his job after the court found that his predecessor, former NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana, was unlawfully axed by Zuma.

Ramaphosa’s lawyers filed the papers on Friday, saying: “With the current regime and after consultation with the president of the Republic of South Africa, we are instructed to inform this court, that the first respondent is no longer prosecuting its appeal and therefore will not be present to argue the matter on 28 February 2018.”

The papers were filed on the same day Abrahams received recommendations from a prosecuting team inside the NPA on whether Zuma should be charged and prosecuted for corruption.

The NPA confirmed Abrahams received the recommendations but has not announced any decision on whether Zuma will be prosecuted.

Ramaphosa’s withdrawal of the appeal marks a departure from the choices made by Zuma’s presidency and is an indication that he may support the removal of Abrahams as NDPP.

Acting presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale said that the appeal filed under Zuma’s presidency was now rendered “moot” which is why Ramaphosa made the decision to withdraw it.

“The only issue appealed by the President (Zuma) was the order that the then deputy president should appoint the NDPP while president Zuma was president, as he was, in the view of the applicants, conflicted. That issue is now moot.
There is no other matter to appeal,” Seale said.

The NPA had yet to comment at the time of publishing.