Nomgcobo Jiba
Nomgcobo Jiba

Senior National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) officials Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi have been suspended with immediate effect pending inquiries into their fitness to hold office. 

The presidency said on Thursday that President Cyril Ramaphosa had informed Jiba, deputy national director of public prosecutions, and Mrwebi, special director of public prosecutions of his decision to institute inquiries into their fitness to hold office.

"President Ramaphosa has also decided to suspend, effective October 25, advocate Jiba and advocate Mrwebi on full pay pending finalisation of the inquiry," a statement on Thursday said. 

Jiba was initially struck from the roll together with Mrwebi, over the manner in which they dealt with charges against former crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli. However, this was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) earlier in 2018.

Ramaphosa had asked the pair to furnish him with reasons as to why they should not be suspended, by August 10.

The presidency said the inquiry will be established in terms of section 12(6) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act, which applies directly to Jiba and read with section 14(3) applies to Mrwebi, and sets out the conditions under which the president may provisionally suspend the national director or a deputy national director from his or her office, pending an inquiry into his or her fitness to hold such office.

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

The inquiry will be led by justice Yvonne Mokgoro, assisted by Kgomotso Moroka SC and attorney Thenjiwe Vilakazi. The evidence-leading team — which will be led by Nazreen Bawa SC — will develop the terms of reference for the inquiry.

In letters to Jiba and Mrwebi, Ramaphosa said: “I have taken into account the serious nature of allegations that you are unfit to be in so high an office, where the work of our criminal justice system is central to the critical and pressing matter of all prosecutions, especially prosecution of corruption cases and safeguard of our public purse. You hold a senior position with influence over a large swathe of the NPA. It is the interest of the NPA’s image as a whole that I consider here, and of the integrity of an inquiry that must result in the clearest and most convincing conclusions about the integrity and sound leadership of the NPA.”

The presidency said the inquiry would not take the form of a judicial inquiry or a commission of inquiry; instead it would be an internal process, which would be expected to advise the president on Jiba and Mrwebi's fitness for office in the NPA.

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