Judith February Appointed Executive Officer

Johannesburg, 31 March 2022 –Tomorrow Judith February takes over at Freedom Under Law as its new Executive Officer. 

A lawyer and a respected governance specialist and analyst, she is well-known as a media columnist on politics and democracy in South Africa. 

FUL Chair Judge Johann Kriegler says: “FUL spent many months searching for a successor for Nicole Fritz, who was hard to replace. Our efforts have been rewarded: Judith February is exactly what we need. She joins us at a time when the Rule of Law is under unprecedented attack. Judith knows what this entails, and we’re glad to have her on board.” 

Judith February herself comments that “South Africa is at a defining moment for the Rule of Law. I look forward to the challenges FUL faces at this time and am certain that we will be able to contribute to further entrenching the culture of constitutionalism in our country.”

FUL Concerned at Corruption at Highest Levels of Namibian Government

5 December 2019

Freedom Under Law (FUL) views with deep concern the implications for the rule of law throughout the region of this week’s revelations of corruption at the highest levels of government in Namibia, as uncovered in the Al Jazeera documentary, Anatomy of a Bribe.

The investigation reflects ruthless misuse of one of Namibia’s important natural resources (its fishing industry is valued at yielding USD 750 million in revenue per year). Using what it presents as detailed banking and other records and hidden camera recordings of secret meetings it provides a shocking example of how corruption-enablers in the region simultaneously impoverish ordinary people, enrich themselves, and strip Africa’s natural resources.

Among those alleged to be involved are a multinational Icelandic fishing company, Namibian ministers, officials and lawyers, front companies as well as Angolan interests. FUL applauds the decisive action taken by Namibia’s Anti-Corruption Commission, its police and prosecuting authority in within days arresting and charging two Ministers of State and senior officials.

Of particular concern to FUL is the crucial enabling role also alleged to have been played by private legal practitioners in making the fraudulent and corrupt schemes possible by acting as conduits and facilitators. FUL calls upon the Namibian Law Society to follow the example of the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission in without delay investigating the latter allegations. They concern the former (as Attorney General) chief law officer and thereafter Minister of Justice, as well as a senior Windhoek private law firm. 

So far as FUL is aware the Namibian Law Society has yet to speak a word or take a step, except to note that it has received no formal complaint against any legal practitioner. In the face of such damning allegations against some of the most prominent members of the legal profession in Namibia that seems an entirely inadequate response. Prompt and resolute investigative and disciplinary action by the watchdog of the legal profession, protector of the public and ally of the administration of justice in Namibia, the Law Society of Namibia, is now required.

FUL Concerned at Nomgcobo Jiba’s Continued Presence at NPA

19 July 2018

Freedom Under Law (FUL) has instructed its lawyers to write to the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Shaun Abrahams, seeking clarity as to the presence of Nomgcobo Jiba, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions currently on special leave, at the offices of the NPA. This follows reports that Ms Jiba has visited the NPA’s offices on at least two occasions in the past six months. If true, Ms Jiba’s attendance at the NPA’s offices would be in clear violation of the order of North Gauteng High Court delivered in December 2017.


The Court held that the decision taken by Mr Abrahams to withdraw charges of fraud and perjury against Ms Jiba, was irrational and was to be set aside. It also found that the failure by then President Zuma not to suspend and institute inquiries into the fitness of Ms Jiba and Mr Lawrence Mrwebi was irrational and that it should be set aside.

Mindful of the importance of public confidence in the NPA as a law enforcement agency, the Court held that ‘the continued presence of such high profile officers in their positions under the current circumstances, even for one day longer, should not be countenanced.” For this reason, and faced with the privileged access Abrahams had granted the pair when placing them on special leave, the Court devised a specific order, prohibiting Ms Jiba and Mr Mrwebi, pending the prosecution to finality of appeals, from performing any function relating to their offices in the NPA and from presenting themselves to the NPA offices and/or engaging in any discussion concerning any pending cases under consideration by the NPA.

That Ms Jiba is now reported to have visited the NPA’s headquarters in Pretoria twice over the past six months, so flouting the Court’s order, only serves to underline her unfitness for any role within the NPA, let alone that of key official. But that this happens with Mr Abrahams still at the helm of the NPA, even without reference to his past history of granting Ms Jiba special concessions, is a reminder to the South African public and our President of the importance of restoring integrity and professionalism to this beleaguered institution. And that this requires urgent change to its top leadership.