Deputy national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) Nomgcobo Jiba and special prosecutions director at the National Prosecuting Authority Lawrence Mrwebi have submitted reasons why they should not be suspended pending an inquiry into their fitness to remain in office.
President Cyril Ramaphosa had given them until yesterday to do so and the submission of the documents was confirmed by their legal representative, advocate Zola Majavu.
Ramaphosa indicated the inquiries would be established in terms of section 12(6) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act which states: “The president may provisionally suspend the national director or a deputy national director from his or her office, pending such inquiry into his or her fitness to hold such office as the president deems fit and, subject to the provisions of this subsection, may thereupon remove him or her from office.”
Earlier, Ramaphosa apparently wrote to Jiba and Mrwebi: “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 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 members of the judiciary have negatively tainted the image of the NPA and will continue to do so until fully ventilated and addressed.”
In 2014, in the spy tapes judgment, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) found that Jiba, in her capacity as acting national director of the NPA, had “provided an ‘opposing’ affidavit in generalised, hearsay and almost meaningless terms”.
The SCA found her conduct in the case to be “lamentable” and unworthy of the office of the NDPP.
The pair have been embroiled in a number of controversies, including Jiba’s dogged persecution of General Johan Booysen after he exposed Thoshan Panday, accused of defrauding the SA Police Service by conspiring with police procurement officer Colonel Navin Madhoe to inflate a R60 million contract for accommodation for police members in KwaZulu-Natal during the 2010 World Cup.
It’s also alleged that Panday, assisted by Madhoe, offered KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Booysen a R2 million bribe to backdate evidence and throw out the case.
Panday has been a business partner of former president Jacob Zuma’s son, Edward.
All that remains now is for Ramaphosa to appoint the members of the inquiry and set the terms of reference.