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Cape Town -
Justice Minister Jeff Radebe has dismissed reports that acting prosecutions chief Nomgcobo Jiba sought to scupper an international award for Gerrie Nel.
On Wednesday, he rejected claims that Jiba had threatened to withdraw South Africa's membership of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) because it lauded Nel's work.
The fact that Jiba attended a meeting of the IAP in June 2011 discredited the allegations, Radebe told the National Assembly.
The claims surfaced in a news report and were repeated in a question to Radebe by Democratic Alliance MP Dene Smuts.
“It is part of a smear campaign against Nomgcobo Jiba,” Radebe said.
“The idea that she could be against the IAP is without foundation. There is no basis in what has been reported,” he said.
Smuts said she did not rely on media reports, but on her own sources who told her that Nel, whose successful prosecutions include securing a theft conviction against Jiba's husband, had been targeted by the acting national director of public prosecutions.
She asked whether Rabebe intended to congratulate Nel.
The minister refused to answer the question, declaring it “out of order”.
City Press reported earlier this month that a preliminary report into Jiba's conduct found that she had actively sought to have Nel arrested in 2008.
Nel is seeking R300 000 in damages from the state for wrongful arrest on charges that included perjury and obstructing the ends of justice.
Prosecutors declined to charge their colleague for lack of evidence.
Jiba was suspended for her role in the matter and eventually settled her case with the National Prosecuting Authority. In 2011, she was appointed acting head of the body by President Jacob Zuma.
Zuma has expunged the criminal record of her husband. - Sapa