Lawrence Mrwebi. Picture: SOWETAN
Lawrence Mrwebi. Picture: SOWETAN

Friday is D-Day for controversial senior National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi to give reasons to President Cyril Ramaphosa why they should not be suspended.

Ramaphosa gave them until August 10 to provide reasons why they should not be suspended pending inquiries into their fitness to hold office.

Jiba, deputy national director of public prosecutions, and Mrwebi, head of the specialised commercial crimes unit, recently took up their offices again after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) overturned a high court judgment that struck them from the roll of advocates.

Mrwebi and Jiba were struck from the roll for their handling of charges against former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

The General Council of the Bar has applied to the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal against the SCA judgment.

A day after the council filed its application to the top court, Ramaphosa wrote to Jiba and Mrwebi, asking them to provide him with reasons why they should not be suspended.

Ramaphosa wrote: "I cannot underscore the importance of the public’s trust in the National Prosecuting Authority and its most senior management [enough]. It is a constitutional institution that is central to the proper administration of justice. Doubt about the fitness and integrity of anyone in so senior a position as you hold jeopardises this trust and the ability of the NPA as a whole."

The decision by Ramaphosa to institute inquiries into their fitness to hold office comes ahead of the hearing of an application by Jiba among others for leave to appeal against a high court judgment in December delivered on an application by Freedom Under Law.

The court ordered the president to institute the inquiries, and set aside a decision by NPA head Shaun Abrahams to withdraw charges of perjury and fraud against Jiba.