Ramaite stresses value of prosecutors' independence as inquiry into Jiba, Mrwebi kicks-off

Advocate Silas Ramaite.
Advocate Silas Ramaite.
Image: Gallo Images / Phill Magakoe

The first witness in the Justice Mokgoro Inquiry has begun testifying, stressing the importance of the independence of prosecutors in fulfilling their duties.

Silas Ramaite told the inquiry held in Centurion on Monday that prosecutors have to be independent in order execute their duties, as stipulated in the  NPA Act.

 “The NPA as an institution has to be independent and the prosecutors themselves making decisions must act independently. The law says that they must be objective and impartial…,” said Ramaite.

Ramaite is first witness to present evidence in the inquiry and he has decades of experience in the National Prosecuting Authority. He is the acting National Director of Public Prosecutions.

The inquiry has been established to look into the fitness of advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi to hold office. Jiba is the deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions and Mrwebi the Special Director of Public Prosecutions.

The hearings, led by former justice of the Constitutional Court Yvonne Mokgoro, follow a decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October last year to suspend both Jiba and Mrwebi pending the outcome of the inquiry.

In July last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) overturned a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Jiba and Mrwebi be struck from the roll of advocates.

However, the General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) later filed papers in the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the SCA ruling.

In the papers, GCB chairperson Craig Watt-Pringle SC said he believed there were "reasonable prospects of success in an appeal".

Jiba and Mrwebi are opposing the application. Their matter will be heard in court on March 14.

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