Pretoria - Failure by a top National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) official to present her qualifications could have major implications for justice.
Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, the deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), has, for more than 90 days, failed to submit proof of her qualifications as demanded by the NPA.
This week it emerged that she may not have been listed by the Cape Law Society as an attorney, as she has claimed in her CV.
On Saturday, the DA’s spokeswoman on Justice, Glynnis Breytenbach, a former prosecutor, and two legal experts, who did not want to be named, said if Jiba had misrepresented her CV claiming she was an admitted advocate, this could have huge implications for the decisions she had taken.
Breytenbach said any person that had been convicted as a result of the decision Jiba took could approach the court to have her decision reviewed. Breytenbach urged President Jacob Zuma, who appointed Jiba, to investigate the allegations.
This comes a week after The Sunday Independent reported that questions had arisen from within the NPA about whether Jiba was admitted as an advocate after she failed to submit her certificate of admission as advocate.
Breytenbach added that being an admitted advocate was one of the requirements for the position of NDPP that Jiba currently holds. “This could have huge implications for the NPA because this would mean the decisions she took were irregular as she did not have the power to do so. I’m hoping this is not true,” Breytenbach said.
She said another requirement for her to hold the position was having 10 years’ experience as an advocate. Breytenbach and the two legal eagles said Jiba could face a charge of fraud or dismissal if investigations revealed that she had deliberately misrepresented her CV.
Before Jiba could be admitted as an advocate, she had to be deregistered as an attorney first, but this information could not be found in the records of the Cape Law Society.
According to Jiba’s CV as it appears on the NPA website, she commenced her clerkship to qualify as an attorney in 1997 with the law firm Qunta Ntsebeza in Cape Town. She qualified as an attorney in 1998.
Jiba’s CV also says she is an admitted advocate of the High Court. The Sunday Independent understands that officials conducting the investigation into Jiba’s qualifications were unable to find her name on any high court roll.
When The Sunday Independent contacted the Cape Law Society and Law Society of the Northern Provinces to find out which year Jiba had been deregistered as an attorney in order to be admitted as an advocate, her name could not be found.
A woman in the records department at the Cape Law Society said: “Mam, I have tried everything. I have looked using her first name, her ID number and her maiden surname, but nothing is coming up. This means this person has never been listed as an attorney with the Cape Law Society. If she had been listed as an attorney with us, I would have been able to find the date she was deregistered,” she said.
Jiba has, since August 9, failed to answer questions put to her by The Sunday Independent.
Department of Justice spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said an auditing process was under way to ensure that the names of all advocates appeared on the roll.
He said the auditing process was expected to be completed in March.
It was still not clear if the absence of Jiba’s name from the roll of advocates was a mistake on the part of the Department of Justice. Last week NPA spokesman, Nathi Mncube, said they had asked senior officials to submit certified copies of their qualifications as well as their certificates of admission as advocates.