Johannesburg - Questions have arisen regarding the qualifications of a senior National Prosecuting Authority official, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba, after it emerged that she may not be admitted as an advocate.
The questions, from within the NPA, came after Jiba failed to submit, along with other top officials, certified copies of their qualifications, as well as evidence of their admission as advocates.
Sources told the Sunday Independent that Jiba had failed for three months to supply the required documentation. Officials conducting the probe had also been unable to find her name on any of the high court rolls.
One source said that, if Jiba had been admitted in a court of law, all she had to do was to state when and where she was admitted, as well as provide a copy of the high court order that resulted in her admission.
The Sunday Independent understands that the advocates roll is currently incomplete, so it is not clear if the absence of Jiba’s name from the roll is a mistake on the part of the Department of Justice or if she is not an admitted advocate.
Jiba failed to answer questions repeatedly put to her by The Sunday Independent. SMSes were sent and telephone calls were made to her for the past seven days.
When she was contacted for a comment this week, she said: “I’m in a meeting,” before hanging up.
The Sunday Independent questions to Jiba were:
NPA spokesman Nathi Mncube said Jiba held an LLB degree, but had been unable to furnish the NPA with her certificate of admission as an advocate.
Mncube confirmed the NPA had recently requested all the top NPA managers “to supply us with their qualifications, as well their admission certificates”.
He would not be drawn on when the instruction was issued.
The senior managers were also asked to submit their qualifications.
On Saturday, Department of Justice spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said an auditing process was under way to ensure the names of all the NPA advocates were on the roll. He said the auditing process was expected to be completed in March next year.
He said that, where there was uncertainty about whether the person was an admitted advocate, the registrars of all the high courts would be able to provide the information.
He said the names of the advocates used to be kept manually in a book, but around early 2000 the department introduced an electronic system that crashed in 2003.
Jiba’s official CV, as it appears on the NPA’s website, says she is an admitted advocate of the high court. However, it does not indicate in which year she was admitted as an advocate.
Jiba’s CV says she completed a BJuris in 1987 and an LLB in 1989 at Walter Sisulu University, which was then known as the University of the Transkei. In 1996, she obtained an LLM in commercial law.
Her professional career started in 1988 in Peddie, in the Eastern Cape, where she worked as a prosecutor in a magistrate’s court.
In 1997, she resigned from government employment and began her articles of clerkship to qualify as an attorney with the firm Qunta Ntsebeza in Cape Town. She was admitted as an attorney in 1998.
In 1999, she joined the then Investigating Directorate for Serious Economic Offences (Idseo) in Pretoria as a senior state advocate.
When Idseo was disbanded and the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) was formed, she was made deputy director of public prosecutions.
When contacted for comment, the former executive manager of the NPA’s Integrity Management Unit, Prince Mokotedi, defended Jiba, saying this was a smear campaign against her.
He said this was part of the ongoing faction fighting in the NPA.
In a separate matter, the NPA lodged charges of misconduct and perjury against Jiba, head of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit Lawrence Mrwebi and North Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions Sibongile Mzinyathi with the Pretoria Bar Council.