The Constitutional Court today reserved judgement on the application brought by the General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) to appeal a Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling in favour of suspended deputy prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba and her colleague, Lawrence Mrwebi.
In July last year, three judges of the SCA found that the High Court in Pretoria acted harshly against Mrwebi and Jiba in its decision to strike them off the roll of advocates. Two judges of the SCA differed sharply with the majority decision.
Today, in its heads of argument, the GCB said Jiba and Mrwebi were wrong to abandon the prosecution of former national police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.
The GCB argued that Mrwebi withdrew the charges without consulting with the prosecutors and investigating team who dealt with the matter.
The GCB also argued that Jiba as the then acting national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) failed to review his decision. Other allegations against Jiba pertain to her decision to charge former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss General Johan Booysen with racketeering in August 2012.
Arguing on behalf of the GCB, Schalk Burger, SC, said presenting false evidence as Jiba is alleged to have done when prosecuting Booysen with racketeering charges was enough to have her struck from the roll.
“What is an issue in the Booysen matter is not whether the authorization of charges was correctly made, but whether she gave false evidence in the review application. She had said under oath that she relied on certain facts,” Burger argued.
Burger said the GCB believed this automatically strikes one off the roll.
The Constitutional Court judgment may well come after the recommendations of the Mokgoro Inquiry, tasked with probing Jiba and Mrwebi’s fitness to hold office. This panel is expected to submit its report to the president by Friday.
If the panel finds against the two, President Cyril Ramaphosa could remove the advocates from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) long before the apex court delivers its judgment.
– African News Agency (ANA)