Nomgcobo Jiba. Picture: BUSINESS DAY/TREVOR SAMSON
Nomgcobo Jiba. Picture: BUSINESS DAY/TREVOR SAMSON

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told former senior National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) official Nomgcobo Jiba that one of the reasons he has fired her is because she lied to him.

Ramaphosa wrote to Jiba, former deputy director of public prosecutions and the former head of the serious commercial crimes unit, Lawrence Mrwebi, on Thursday evening, telling them of their immediate dismissal.

The letters also reveal that Mrwebi asked to go on retirement, while Jiba asked to be appointed in a senior position in public services. Ramaphosa denied both those requests.  

In the letter sent to Jiba, which was published by the presidency on Friday, Ramaphosa said the findings made against her by the inquiry into her fitness to hold office, were of a very serious nature and that representations made by her did not offer any reason not to accept the recommendation that he should axe her.

The inquiry, headed by retired Constitutional Court justice Yvonne Mokgoro, recommended to Ramaphosa that he remove both Jiba and Mrwebi from their posts after hearing six weeks of evidence pertaining to their fitness to hold office earlier this year.

Read the president's letters to Jiba and Mrwebi here:

Ramaphosa listed some of the key reasons in the inquiry’s report that motivated his decision, which included that Jiba had lied to him.

“The panel found that you lied to me,” Ramaphosa said. He elaborated on the lie, saying that she had said in representations to him on August 10 that she had appointed prosecutors from outside of KwaZulu-Natal to prosecute the province’s former Hawks head Johan Booysen on racketeering charges after she was asked to do so by the then acting director of public prosecutions, Simphiwe Mlotshwa. 

“However, in your statement under oath before the panel, you said this was not the case,” Ramaphosa said.

The panel noted that you were dishonest before the inquiry. Such conduct cannot be countenanced for a person in your position.

Jiba instituted racketeering charges in the case against Booysen when she was acting national director of public prosecutions. Jiba tasked South Gauteng director of public prosecutions, Andrew Chauke, to deal with the matter, even though it did not fall within his jurisdiction.

The president also said Jiba had acted under external pressure in making decisions on charges against Zuma, and that she had failed to review the decision by Mrwebi to drop criminal charges against former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.

Ramaphosa said Jiba had brought the NPA into disrepute, and she did not follow legal prescripts in her decisions. He also said  she lacked the necessary conscientiousness and independence for the position.

In his letter to Mrwebi, Ramaphosa said his submissions also did not give him any reasons to not accept the panel’s recommendations. He said Mrwebi contradicted himself in his testimony at the inquiry, forcing the panel to believe that he lied about the date on which he prepared a consultative note that dealt with withdrawing the charges against Mdluli.

Ramaphosa also cited the finding that Mrwebi was wrong in law about the mandate of the inspector-general of intelligence, which Mrwebi said should investigate Mdluli.

He also noted that the panel found Mrwebi lied under oath in a trial, as well as accepting representations from crime intelligence before his appointment as special director, which he factored in when taking the decision to drop charges against Mdluli. 

Ramaphosa said to Mrwebi: “The panel noted that you were dishonest before the inquiry. Such conduct cannot be countenanced for a person in your position.”   

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