President Cyril Ramaphosa has informed the deputy national director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, and the special director of public prosecutions, Lawrence Mrwebi, that he intends to institute inquiries into their fitness to hold office.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Presidency said Ramaphosa had invited Jiba and Mrwebi to make submissions by August 10 to say why they should not be suspended pending the inquiry.
In letters to both advocates, Ramaphosa said: “I cannot underscore the importance of the public’s trust in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and its most senior management. It is a constitutional institution that is central to the proper administration of justice. Doubt about the fitness and integrity of anyone in so senior a position as you hold, jeopardises this trust and the ability of the NPA as a whole.”
“The allegations made in these various judgments have been in the public domain for many years now and despite the litigation at issue not reaching conclusion, the pronouncements by these various members of the judiciary have negatively tainted the image of the NPA and will continue to do so until fully ventilated and addressed,” he said.
The inquiries will be established in terms of Section 12(6) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act.
In July, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned a ruling of the Pretoria high court that Jiba and Mrwebi be struck from the roll of advocates.
The General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) filed papers in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday for leave to appeal the SCA ruling.
In the papers, chairperson of the GCB advocate Craig Watt-Pringle SC said he believed there were “reasonable prospects of success in an appeal”.
He said four judges had found that striking off orders should be made in the circumstances of the case and three disagreed.
“The application by the General Council of the Bar of South Africa is to request the court by the custos morum (ethical standards) of the profession to use its disciplinary power over an officer of the court who has misconducted him or herself.” — News24