End of the road for Jiba, Mrwebi as justice committee set to recommend they not be reinstated at NPA

Jan Gerber News 24

26 November 2019

Advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi will not be reinstated at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

On Tuesday, the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services resolved it would not recommend to the National Assembly to have Jiba and Mrwebi reinstated in their positions at the NPA. 

The committee will adopt its report on Wednesday and it will be before the National Assembly next Tuesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa fired Jiba and Mrwebi in April following an inquiry headed by retired Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, News24 previously reported.

The inquiry found they were not “fit and proper to hold their respective offices”, according to a statement from the Presidency.

The decision had to be referred to Parliament to determine whether Jiba and Mrwebi should be reinstated, not whether they should be fired.

Jiba made the committee’s work easy when she wrote to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise earlier this month, stating she would not be seeking restoration by Parliament to her position in the NPA. 

This after her court bid to order Ramaphosa and National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi to reinstate her “with all associated employment benefits with immediate effect”, failed.

READ MORE: Nomgcobo Jiba ditches bid to return to NPA

DA MP Werner Horn said it would be a “serious overreach” if they reinstated someone who accepted the president’s decision and findings of the Mokgoro inquiry. The other MPs agreed.

Mrwebi, however, complicated matters. 

He wrote a letter to the committee on October 31, asking for an opportunity to be heard with his legal counsel. In the letter, Mrwebi expressed the view that Ramaphosa was not empowered to institute the inquiry.

In July, he was allowed to provide the committee with a representation, which he did.

Horn dismissed Mrwebi’s argument about why Ramaphosa should not have instituted the inquiry. He said the committee was obliged to accept the findings of the inquiry and it was “not Parliament’s role to act as a type of appeal court”.

ANC MP Hishaam Mohamed said he could not see on what Mrwebi would enlighten the committee.

Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe said Judge Robert Henney, who dismissed Jiba’s application, asked why they have not sought to interdict Ramaphosa’s decision to institute the inquiry.

Only one MP wanted to allow Mrwebi to address the committee – the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

“How can a Parliament of the people say I won’t hear someone who is asking to be heard. This is a Parliament of the people, Mrwebi is the people,” Ndlozi said.

Several MPs pointed out Mrwebi had ample opportunity to communicate with the committee and that their process was fair.

FUL Welcomes Conviction of Richard Mdluli, former head of Crime Intelligence

31 July 2019

Yesterday General Richard Mdluli, former head of Crime Intelligence in the SAPS, was convicted in the High Court, Johannesburg on counts of kidnapping, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, assault and intimidation.


This follows a series of legal challenges, over several years, by Freedom Under Law to decisions which would have given Gen Mdluli impunity and kept him in his crucial post.  The charges against Gen Mdluli relating to kidnapping and assault of Oupa Ramogiba had initially been withdrawn by prosecutors Chauke and Jiba, while fraud and corruption charges were withdrawn by prosecutor Mrwebi.  Justice Makgoba initially granted Freedom Under Law an urgent order directing that Gen Mdluli stand down from his position pending the determination of a review of that decision.
In doing so, the Court stressed that a constitutional democracy could not tolerate a situation in which one of the country’s key crimefighters continued to perform his daily functions while himself facing serious allegations of criminality. That Gen Mdluli had not been finally convicted of these grave crimes was not the issue.


In due course Freedom Under Law’s review of the prosecutors’ decision too was upheld.


Gen Mdluli’s trial ensued, and has extended over a lengthy period, culminating in yesterday’s conviction by Justice Mokgatlheng.
While it is unfortunate that the charges of fraud and corruption were not reinstated by the NPA, it is an important vindication of the rule of law that one of South Africa’s most senior police officers has been held accountable for some of the crimes he has committed.


It is a cause for reflection that had Freedom Under Law, one of a group of civil society watchdogs active in this way, not challenged the decisions to withdraw charges and to keep Gen Mdluli at his desk, his impunity would have been assured.

Public Protector’s Report on Early Retirement an Attempt to Reheat a Long Cold Dish, says FUL

25 May 2019 

Freedom Under Law (FUL) is dismayed but not surprised to learn of the Public Protector’s findings in respect of Mr Ivan Pillay’s early retirement and Minister Pravin Gordhan’s authorisation of the retirement. The matters canvassed in the Public Protector’s report are the exact same matters as those which frame one of the most notorious episodes in the National Prosecuting Authority’s history – the decision to charge and then ultimately ignominiously withdraw charges against Gordhan, Pillay and former SARS Commissioner, Oupa Magashula.

This attempt to reheat a long cold dish and serve it up to the public as evidence of wrongdoing is on its own alarming. But that the Public Protector releases her report a mere two days after receiving responses from the implicated parties – failing to meaningfully engage those responses – makes a mockery of the most basic tenets of justice.

She does so in a week in which a court has found in respect of another of her investigations that: “the Public Protector did nothing to assure the public that she kept an open and enquiring mind and that she discovered, or at least attempted to discover the truth.”

With this her latest report, the Public Protector yet again makes no pretence of what she is about.   

FUL Welcomes Decision to Remove Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi

26 April 2019

Freedom Under Law (FUL) believes that the decision of the President to remove Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi from their positions at the National Prosecuting Authority, in keeping with the recommendations contained in the report issued by the Mokgoro Enquiry, offers an opportunity for restoration of public confidence and trust in that embattled institution.

Under the leadership of new National Director of Public Prosecution (NDPP) Shamila Batohi, the NPA can today begin in earnest a process of rebuilding the institution, free of the corrupting influences of Ms Jiba and Mr Mrwebi. As the report of the Mokgoro Enquiry makes clear, not only were Ms Jiba and Mr Mrwebi found unfit to hold office but showed themselves not to have the integrity, conscientiousness and scrupulous honesty required of such senior officials in an institution so important to our constitutional democracy. 

As is evident from the report and other information publicly disclosed about the workings of the NPA during Ms Jiba and Mr Mrwebi’s time there, they were not the only officials responsible for wrongdoing. But they were central to the wrongdoing and in sidelining and in several instances persecuting those employees within the NPA intent on performing their constitutional operations, Jiba and Mrwebi’s corrupting influence was magnified. Freed of their presence, decent people in the NPA may now get on with their jobs and the tasks required by our Constitution.

FUL Welcomes Con Court Judgment Finding Shaun Abrahams’ Appointment Invalid

13 August 2018

Freedom Under Law (FUL) welcomes the judgment delivered today by the Constitutional Court in which it held that the termination of Mr Mxolisi Nxasana’s position as National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) and the monetary settlement granted him were constitutionally invalid and that the subsequent appointment of Mr Shaun Abrahams as NDPP was also invalid. It also welcomes the Court’s order that the President is to appoint a new NDPP within 90 days.

FUL, together with Corruption Watch, brought the initial application to challenge the termination and settlement, believing these subverted the independence of the NDPP and the NPA. FUL is confident today’s judgment holds out the prospect of a reconstructed, revitalised NPA, with persons of unimpeachable integrity at its helm, able to fully play its vital role in securing criminal justice and constitutional democracy and with the public’s confidence that it is able to dispense justice without fear or favour.

FUL salutes Mr Nxasana, without whose assistance the true record of then President Zuma’s efforts to oust him from office would never have been disclosed. It will watch with interest the appointment of the next NDPP.

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.