Former NPA boss Mxolisi Nxasana has welcomed the North Gauteng High Court’s decision to strike senior prosecutions officials Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi off the advocates’ roll as vindication for his unheeded efforts to remove the pair from the public prosecutions body.
“… There were these criticisms by the courts and the conduct of the persons concerned [Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi]. I then took necessary steps to engage the president and the minister [Michael Masutha] because I felt their conduct was unbecoming of the officers of the court and that the necessary steps had to be taken either as suspending them and holding an inquiry into their fitness to hold office,” Nxasana said on Friday in a radio interview with Talk Radio 702.
He said he referred Jiba and Mrwebi to the General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) after President Jacob Zuma and Justice Minister Michael Masutha failed to take action against the senior officials found to have abused their powers.
“It is public knowledge what I did at the time. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. I wasn’t successful, but I then decided to refer the matter to the body that is entrusted with the administration of the advocates, which is the GCB, to look into the conduct of these officials,” he said.
Nxasana said Zuma and Masutha were hell-bent on instituting a judicial inquiry into his fitness to hold office, barely two years into his 10-year tenure, than about the conduct of Jiba and Mrwebi, who heads the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.
“… Instead, at the time they were really passionate about really getting my inquiry into motion … there was no willingness from their part to deal with the persons concerned, but then what made me very sad is that, I was assured that they wanted to deal with my matter first, and thereafter deal with the officials concerned, but I then saw thereafter that they then reneged from that undertaking.’’
The high court delivered a scathing judgement against the Jiba and Mrwebi, alleged to be close allies of Zuma at the NPA.
The court found that they went to extreme lengths to protect former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli from facing charges of fraud and corruption.
Before the inquiry into Nxasana’s fitness to hold office was abruptly shut down, media reports suggested he received a golden handshake amounting to R17.3 million in May last year to relinquish his post and withdraw his court action against the president and Masutha challenging his suspension.
Responding to Nxasana’s claims, the justice minister denied he and the Zuma ignored the matter. He told the broadcaster they wanted to avoid the “cluttering of different legal processes”, as the case was the subject of the Democratic Alliance’s court application to remove Jiba.