Under Jiba, trend emerged of prosecuting those that got in the way — Hofmeyr

There was a “very concerning” trend at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of prosecuting those viewed as “obstacles to corruption and the capture of the state,” deputy national director of public prosecutions Willie Hofmeyr said on Thursday.

Hofmeyr was testifying at the inquiry into the fitness for office of two of the National Prosecuting Authority’s most senior prosecutors: deputy national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba and special director and head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU) Lawrence Mrwebi.

Chaired by retired Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, the inquiry was established by President Cyril Ramaphosa in response to criticism the pair received in a number of court judgments in high profile and politically sensitive cases.

Hofmeyr said the trend — of prosecuting those who got in the way — “emerged under Jiba”.

He gave examples, including the prosecutions of former Hawks head Anwa Dramat, former Gauteng Hawks Head Shadrack Sibiya and Independent Police Investigative Directorate head Robert McBride, many of which did not make it to trial.

He said the first of these was the prosecution of KwaZulu-Natal Hawks head Johan Booysen.

The authorisation by Jiba of a racketeering charge against Booysen is expected to be one of the central lines of questioning at the inquiry, with allegations that she authorised the prosecution, based on statements that had not, in fact, disclosed a case against him.

Booysen successfully went to court to set aside his prosecution. In his judgment, KwaZulu-Natal high court Judge Trevor Gorven said that when Booysen accused Jiba of “mendacity”, she responded with “deafening silence”.

Hofmeyr said Booysen had launched investigations into corruption in KwaZulu-Natal, including into senior ANC politicians MEC’s Peggy Nkonyeni and Mike Mabuyakhulu.

“He had exposed significant corruption, and the AFU [asset forfeiture unit] worked very closely with the Hawks to seize assets in both these matters, so I became very familiar with the facts at the time”.

“I submit that the charges laid against Booysen was an attempt to remove him from office, or at least to ensure that [a] more pliable acting head would be appointed in his place,” Hofmeyr added.

At the start of the day, Jiba’s counsel, Norman Arendse SC, had addressed the panel, saying that Hofmeyr had made allegations in his affidavit against former national director Shaun Abrahams, which, if true were “very, very serious” and, if not true, were defamatory. He asked whether Abrahams had been informed by the evidence leaders of these allegations and whether he had been offered an opportunity to respond, adding that his team had been informed that he had not. After a break, Mokgoro directed that the evidence and cross-examination should go ahead, but that the evidence leaders should write to Abrahams and invite him to appear the inquiry.

By the lunch break, Hofmeyr was yet to be cross-examined by counsel for Jiba and Mrwebi. 

Franny Rabkin
Franny Rabkin
News Editor, Mail & Guardian. Editor, Advocate. Former legal reporter at Business Day. Still obsessed with law and politics
Advertisting

South Africa could use a communist party

The SACP is not building socialism, or even social democracy. Sadly, it has become just another party advancing the politics of patronage

Netflix and the smash hit tax dodge

‘The Laundromat’ is a film about corporates and the superrich using tax havens, something the streaming service itself allegedly excels at
Advertising

Press Releases

MiX Telematics enhances in-vehicle video camera solution

The company has launched the gold MiX Vision Bureau Service, which includes driver-coaching tools to ensure risky driver behaviour can be addressed proactively and efficiently.

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.