The General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) will apply for leave to appeal against a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment that overturned a high court ruling that the National Prosecuting Authority’s Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi be struck off the roll of advocates.
In a statement on Tuesday, it said the decision on whether the GCB should apply for leave to appeal the judgement of the SCA was “extensively debated”.
“The matter was put to the vote and 18 members voted in favour of applying for leave to appeal, 12 members voted against applying for leave to appeal and two members abstained.”
Jiba, who is the deputy NPA boss, and Mrwebi were struck off the roll of advocates on September 15 2016, by high court judge Francis Legodi.
Legodi agreed with the bar that they were “not fit and proper” for their jobs.
However, in the majority judgment delivered last week, the SCA found that the GCB could not establish any misconduct on the part of Jiba.
Richard Mdluli charges
The judgment was split among five judges – three ruled in favour of Jiba and Mrwebi and the others disagreed and gave a dissenting judgment.
The SCA also said that the high court had misdirected itself in striking Mrwebi from the roll. The court also failed to consider why suspension was not an appropriate sanction, it said.
The high court ruling came after the pair’s decision to drop charges against former Crime Intelligence head Richard Mdluli, who was facing a number of charges, which included defrauding a secret slush fund.
The SCA said, when the high court gave its ruling, it described Mdluli and detailed his personality. It also characterised him in an “egregious manner, as if he was already convicted of the allegations against him”.
“This characterisation… negatively influenced the court a quo’s evaluation of the manner in which Jiba and Mrwebi handled the Mdluli case,” the SCA ruling said.
Jiba’s lawyer advocate Zola Majava told News24 earlier that his client wanted to get back to work following the ruling.
Majavu has written to NPA boss Shaun Abrahams to request that Jiba be allowed to resume her duties at the NPA.
Majavu said Jiba had initially asked to be placed on special leave while the SCA matter was pending. — News24