Time running out for Jiba and Mrwebi

JOHANNESBURG - Friday is the deadline for the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi to explain to President Cyril Ramaphosa why they should remain in their jobs. 

Ramaphosa last week moved to suspend the pair but gave them time to provide reasons he shouldn't.

Time is running out for Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi to explain to President Cyril Ramaphosa why they should continue as Deputy Director and Special Prosecutions Director at the National Prosecuting Authority.

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Zola Majavu, legal counsel for both Jiba and Mrwebi says, “I don’t know whether she’s a good person or a bad person – I only act based on my instructions. Based on my instructions, I do believe she is getting a raw deal.”

On 1 August, Ramaphosa informed the pair that he plans to suspend them, pending an inquiry into their fitness to hold office. 

Just days earlier, they had both been reinstated as advocates when the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling that had declared them unfit to practice law.

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Constitutional Law expert Pierre De Vos said,“In the light of the various judgments that made various findings against them and their behaviour, I will be surprised if the inquiry doesn’t find some sort of reason for their removal from office.”

The General Council of the Bar plans to appeal the Supreme Court ruling at the Constitutional Court, arguing again that Jiba and Mrwebi’s actions while at the NPA prove they are incapable of acting impartially. 

Majavu added, “It may well be that this inquiry may run parallel with the ConCourt appeal – if and when it may happen. Ideally one would have preferred a situation where you await the outcome of the Constitutional Court – because as the apex court there will be no further courts to go to.”

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Whether the inquiry goes ahead or not, it's likely the NPA's reputation will remain damaged for some time.

De Vos says,“The NPA is not going to get back its credibility soon because clearly – as most people do perceive the NPA – at this stage as not doing their job without fear or favour.”

Jiba and Mrwebi have until close of business on Friday to respond to the President.