The DA approached the Constitutional Court on Wednesday to ask for exclusive jurisdiction — alternatively direct access to the court — to have President Cyril Ramaphosa's appointment of Arthur Fraser as national commissioner of correctional services set aside with immediate effect.
"Fraser is a compromised individual who is wholly unfit to hold such a vital position within government, and as such the president erred in his appointment of such an individual," DA leader Mmusi Maimane said of the former head of the State Security Agency (SSA) in a statement.
Last Tuesday Fraser was removed as director-general of the SSA only for him to be appointed as commissioner of correctional services, amid allegations that he tried to scupper an investigation into himself.
"In light of the damning and serious allegations against Fraser – including that he operated a secret and parallel intelligence service from his own home while working for the State Security Agency (SSA) and utilised millions of rands of public funds for personal gain — the president's decision to appoint Fraser falls foul of the president's own constitutional obligations," Maimane said.
Last week Maimane wrote to Ramaphosa asking why Fraser was appointed.
"The president has to date failed to answer these questions, and as such we have little option but to approach the court," Maimane said.
Millions wasted on 'dodgy individuals'
The DA's legal action asks for an order declaring that Ramaphosa's appointment of Fraser violated his obligation to appoint a national commissioner "who is sufficiently conscientious, has enough credibility to do this important job effectively and is of good character".
"Arthur Fraser fails every aspect of this test. In fact, his coordination of a parallel intelligence network should have been reason to fire him – not rehire him in a different capacity, Maimane said.
"We, therefore, ask of the court to review and set aside the president's decision to appoint Arthur Fraser as national commissioner of correctional services on April 17, 2018."
Maimane said Ramaphosa's "new dawn" had failed to stop the ANC's long-standing practice of reshuffling compromised individuals within government departments.
"This practice must be abolished once and for all, [and] not carried out by the president. In the tight fiscal space, our country is currently in, we cannot be wasting millions of rands of public money on dodgy individuals."
In the DA's founding affidavit, filed by the party's chairperson of the executive James Selfe, he refers to the DA's successful court bid to remove Menzi Simelane as National Director of Public Prosecutions where the court held that "ignoring prima facie indications of dishonesty is wholly inconsistent with the end sought to be achieved".
"There are, at the very least, prima facie indications of serious dishonesty concerning Mr Fraser," reads Selfe's affidavit.
Fraser has denied the allegations against him, saying the investigation into his actions was "malicious and at the whims of political parties, aimed at discrediting me, the agency and the current political leadership".
The DA cited Ramaphosa, Fraser, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha, and his deputy concerned with correctional services, Thabang Makwetla, as respondents in the matter.