10 things you didn’t know about new NPA head Shaun Abrahams

He is a Zuma appointment, but the new National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams is already on record saying he won’t be protecting anyone in particular, no matter who. This is one decision Zuma appears to have got right – for a change. This News24 report paints a more human picture of South Africa’s new public watchdog. – Marika Sboros

By Ahmed Areff and Jenni Evans

Shaun Abrahams, National Director of Public Prosecutions
Shaun Abrahams, National Director of Public Prosecutions

Johannesburg (News24) – New National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams was formally introduced to staff and the media at the National Prosecuting Authority head offices in Pretoria on Tuesday.

He hopes to be the first NPA boss to make it to a full term, and has stressed that despite being appointed by President Jacob Zuma, he is not going to protect specific individuals.

Here are 10 facts about Abrahams that you might not have known:

1. His favourite movie is Gladiator 

“It tells you a lot about my character,” he joked.

2. He prosecuted his first case in 1997, when he was 21 

Abrahams, who is now 39, joked at his introduction that he has aged in the two weeks since Zuma appointed him.

3. He reads a lot, but hasn’t had a chance to read a novel since his appointment 

“I love reading, but for the last two weeks since I started this job I haven’t gotten a chance. All I am reading at the moment is reports on various matters.”

4. He has three favourite cases 

Abrahams singled out the case against the men who tried to assassinate exiled former Rwandan general Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, the case against convicted Nigerian terrorist Henry Okah, and the case against the Phalaborwa terrorists who tried to bomb ANC leaders’ homes. “Those three stand out… I have even prosecuted [late AWB leader] Eugene Terre’blanche. There are many cases I have prosecuted and they all have different lessons.”

5. His mother’s nickname for him “Pikkewyntjie” (Penguin) came about because of the way he used to walk as a baby

“A mother’s love has no bounds – [she would even] divulge a nickname. I started walking, or shuffling when I was 8-months-old…  that shows that I was strong. [However] I shuffled like penguin,” he explained.

6.  He is one of five children, with three brothers, Neil, Kelvin and Vincent, and a sister, Lynn

7. His mother cooks one of his favourite meals, tripe curry, for him when he visits their home in Pietermaritzburg

“One of the things he loves when he comes home is tripe curry. And I know I must have it ready when he’s down,” his mother, Anne, told The Witness.

8. His family moved from Standerton to Pietermaritzburg in 1984 where he attended Woodlands Primary School and Haythorne High

9. His mother says he was rugby mad at school and not very academic

“He was really not an academic boy. Always rugby, rugby, rugby. I would battle to get that child to study,” his mother said. He played flyhalf for the Young ­Lions and Collegians rugby clubs in ­Pietermaritzburg.

10. The late attorney general of KwaZulu-Natal, Tim McNally, encouraged him to study law.



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