The fate of suspended National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) top officials, advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi, rests in President Cyril Ramphosa’s hands as he will soon announce if the pair are fit to hold the office of the deputy national director of public prosecutions and special director of public prosecutions respectively.
In a commission of inquiry which lasted over six weeks, the public heard of how Jiba and Mrwebi had allegedly influenced and meddled in certain high-profile prosecutions at the organisation. Testimony from 17 witnesses, who included their colleagues and SAPS officials, lifted the lid on how the officials allegedly ran the institution, with some listing outlandish demands that were often made.
Next week, Ramaphosa will officially receive a report from the commission, which was headed by retired Constitutional Court Judge, Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, alongside advocate Kgomotso Moroka and Thenjiwe Vilakazi as well as other panellists.
Ramaphosa’s response to the report will also likely shed some much-needed light for new NPA boss Shamila Batohi in mapping out the future of the institution whose credibility has come under scrutiny over the past couple of years.
In his final submissions to the inquiry, Mrwebi’s representative, Vilakazi Tau, said: “In summary, we submit that nothing has been presented before the inquiry which shows that advocate Mrwebi is not a fit and proper person to continue in his position as a special director and we submit that a finding in such terms should be made by the inquiry panel and that the recommendation be made to the president on such basis.”
Jiba’s lawyer, Zola Majavu, on the other hand, said the evidence that had been placed before the inquiry in respect to his client was circumstantial at best.
“Much of the evidence has been of a general and unspecified nature, that the NPA has somehow been captured and the implication presumably being that advocate Jiba is guilty by association. There has, however, been no evidence of any involvement by her in an abuse of power and in the furtherance of a political agenda. In the circumstances we submit that this inquiry, limited as it is by the decision of the majority of the SCA (Supreme Court of Appeals) in the GCB (General Council of the Bar) matters, should not conclude that advocate Jiba is no longer fit and proper to hold the office of deputy national director,” he said.