The National Prosecuting Authority’s Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi have been struck from the roll of advocates.
In a tough judgment, Judges Francis Legodi and Wendy Hughes in the Pretoria high court on Thursday morning concurred with the General Council of the Bar of South Africa’s (GCB) contention that Jiba, deputy national director of public prosecutions, and special director of public prosecutions Mrwebi are not “fit and proper” for their jobs.
- See the full judgment HERE
This relates to their conduct in several matters before the highest courts in the land.
The case concerns their decision to drop charges against suspended police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli; the “spy tapes” matter relating to the dropping of corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma; and the case of suspended KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen in the alleged Cato Manor “death squad” matter.
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Legodi, who wrote the judgment, said: “I can’t believe that [Jiba and Mrwebi] would stoop so low for the protection and defense of [Mdluli].”
Jiba and Mrwebi should have “stood firm and vigorous on the ground by persisting to prosecute [Mdluli] on fraud and corruption charges”.
“This kind of behavior diminishes the image of the country and its institutions which are meant to be impartial and independent.”
But the judges did not agree with the GCB’s application that Sibongile Mzinyathi should also be scrapped from the roll of advocates and rejected this part of the application.
The judgment will have a bearing on whether Jiba and Mrwebi will be allowed to stay on in their posts.
Section 9 of the National Prosecuting Act states a person in Jiba and Mrwebi’s posts must be “a fit and proper person, with due regard to his or her experience, conscientiousness and integrity, to be entrusted with the responsibilities of the office concerned”.
It follows that if the pair is not fit and proper to be advocates, they may also not be fit and proper to be deputy national director and special director of the NPA.
NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said the NPA will study the judgment and cannot comment before they have done so.
Jiba’s lawyer Zola Majavu reacted to a phone call, but did not answer written questions on the matter.