Fired NPA pair Jiba, Mrwebi first on Parliament's list
Politics / 11 July 2019, 09:00am / Mayibongwe Maqhina
Johannesburg - The removal of advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi from office at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will be the first item to be processed by Parliament after considering budgets of departments.
This was the word from justice and correctional services portfolio committee chairperson Gratitude Magwanishe when the committee received a legal opinion on the removal of Jiba and Mrwebi.
“We will be processing this matter very soon. I guess immediately... We are done with budget votes. It is going to be the first matter we are to process,” he said.
Magwanishe made the comments at the joint meeting of the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services and the National Council of Provinces’ select committee on security and justice.
This comes two months after President Cyril Ramaphosa communicated to Parliament his decision to fire the pair after retired Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro made her recommendations.
Briefing the committees, parliamentary legal adviser Siviwe Njikela said the rules of the national legislature did not provide for a procedure to deal with removal or reinstatement of the national director of public prosecutions.
Njikela, however, said the constitution empowered Parliament to determine its own procedures using its own rules.
“The committees are at liberty as to how they proceed with the matter in the absence of a specific rule.”
Njikela said in the absence of specific rules, the process to be followed should be fair.
“Both parties must be heard before a decision is taken. They don't have to appear in person before the committee,” he said.
Njikela said in terms of the information before the committee in the form of the Mokgoro report, representations by Jiba and Mrwebi, and Ramaphosa’s decision, they were all relevant matters to be considered.
Njikela explained to the MPs that the Constitution required of them to make a decision with regard to the pair’s reinstatement.
“It does not invite Parliament to remove them. The decision to remove lies with the president and that decision has been made. Whether the committee has good grounds to restore them, that is what the committee has to consider and a decision to make.”
Njikela also said there was no legal requirement for the DA’s Glynis Breytenbach, who was a witness at the Mokgoro commission, to recuse herself from the proceedings.
“We appreciate her recusal from the committee. She has written a letter to that effect. Her recusal may help to enhance perception of fairness of the process you will be undergoing.”
ACDP’s Steve Swart said it was clear that they have a very narrow mandate.
“We are purely looking at the president's decision based on the Mokgoro commission on whether to restore the officials.
“We will apply ourselves to the report and other relevant information considered in arriving at that decision,” Swart said.
The DA’s Werner Horn also asked that they be furnished with the Mokgoro report, Jiba and Mrwebi’s representations and Ramaphosa’s decision in order for them to come back to the committee with a proposal on the process to be followed.
“We don't have a problem with the opinion received,” Horn said.
Responding to a question on 30-day notice given to Parliament by the president on his decision, Njikela advised the committees to deal with the matter urgently.