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2 minute read
15 Oct 2015
3:56 pm

DA in spat over Jiba at Parliament


The Democratic Alliance plans to lodge a complaint with parliamentary authorities against veteran ANC MP Mathole Motshekga after sparks flew in the portfolio committee on justice on Thursday when opposition MPs questioned the appointment of Nomcgobo Jiba as head of prosecutions at the National Prosecuting Authority.

“We will definitely take the matter further and take Motshekga’s conduct to the chair of chairs, Cedric Frolick,” DA MP Werner Horn said.

He was referring to disparaging remarks Mothsekga made about his colleague Glynnis Breytenbach after they walked out of a briefing by the NPA to the committee in protest at Motshekga’s refusal to allow questions about Jiba’s position at the prosecuting authority.

Motshekga interrupted NPA director Shaun Abrahams to say Breytenbach’s past career as a prosecutor disqualified her from commenting on the organisation.

“Advocate Breytenbach is not a fit and proper person to pronounce herself on what is happening at the NPA,” Motshekga said, adding that Breytenbach herself had played a role in the infighting that has plagued the NPA for years.

African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart leapt to her defence, telling Motshekga: “You are attacking the integrity of a colleague of mine.”

Breytenbach had been largely silent in the meeting, leaving Redelinghuys to question Abrahams after he sought to pre-empt questions about Jiba by explicitly stating that he had appointed the controversial deputy director of public prosecutions to her new post on merit and after careful consideration.

“I asked how he can feel that he applied his mind rationally when a court found that she was tainted and not a fit and proper person,” Horn said.

Abrahams responded to this by saying that the General Council of the Bar’s bid to have Jiba disbarred was an external matter and that the NPA protected its staff.

He also said that he was a respondent in the matters to which Redelinghuys referred and therefore felt uneasy answering questions, before Motshekga interrupted to say it was sub judice and he would not allow further questions.

“At this point we walked out,” Horn said.

The Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria in August withdrew charges against Jiba relating to her decision to prosecute Johan Booysen, the head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, on racketeering charges.

In February last year, Durban High Court Judge Trevor Gorven threw out the charges against Booysen. The judge went on to describe Jiba’s decision to charge Booysen as “arbitrary, [and] offend the principle of legality and, therefore, the rule of law and were unconstitutional”.

She remains subject to an inquiry by the Pretoria Bar Council, along with North Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions Sibongile Mzinyathi and disgraced commercial crimes head Lawrence Mwrebi, to be struck from the roll of advocates as not fit and proper to be members of the profession,

The probe flowed from a request to the council by Abrahams’s predecessor, Mxolisi Nxasana, who had asked Justice and Correctional Services Minister Mike Masutha and President Jacob Zuma to suspend Jiba on several occasions following a judicial probe into management at the NPA. The probe recommended that she be criminally charged for fraud and perjury.

Breytenbach left the NPA for politics after she was cleared on disciplinary charges, only to be moved from her division.