Ramaphosa poised to suspend Jiba and Mrwebi over alleged unfitness to hold office

Cyril Ramaphosa
Image: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

President Cyril Ramaphosa has given deputy national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba and special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi notice that he intends to suspend them – and has asked them for reasons why he shouldn’t.

Both Jiba and Mrwebi have until August 10 to provide reasons as to why they should not be suspended pending inquiries into their fitness to hold office.

Ramaphosa will‚ on Thursday‚ formally withdraw former president Jacob Zuma’s appeal against a North Gauteng High Court’s ruling that the president “institute disciplinary inquiries against Jiba and Mrwebi into their fitness to hold office in the National Prosecuting Authority and to suspend them pending the outcome of those inquiries”.

The High Court found that‚ given that Jiba’s conduct had been criticised in four different court rulings‚ Zuma’s failure to act against her was irrational.

That same ruling also found that prosecutions head Shaun Abrahams acted irrationally when he withdrew fraud and perjury charges against Jiba. Those charges were related to the handling of the racketeering prosecution of former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen.

Both Jiba and Abrahams are seeking to appeal that judgment. Their appeal arguments are due to be heard in October.

Meanwhile‚ the General Council of the Bar is seeking to challenge a Supreme Court of Appeal judgment which found that the council had failed to establish that Jiba was guilty of misconduct. In a split ruling‚ the court’s majority overturned a judgment that Jiba should be struck from the roll of advocates.

While the majority ruling given by Judge Jerry Shongwe found that Jiba could not be found guilty of misconduct‚ he suggested she may well be incompetent for the senior position she occupies at the NPA.

“Perhaps one may infer some form of incompetence with regard to her duties‚ which may be a ground to remove her from being the DNDPP (Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions) but not sufficient enough to be removed from the roll of advocates‚” the judge said.

Two Appeal Court judges found that there was indeed ample evidence to show that Jiba had acted improperly‚ among other things‚ in her and Mrwebi’s decision to drop charges against former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

Ramaphosa’s decision to serve suspension notices on Jiba and Mrwebi comes as the Constitutional Court is expected to rule on whether the appointment of Abrahams was valid.

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