NPA's Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba at Justice Yvonne Mokgoro's inquiry. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - Nomgcobo Jiba, the suspended national deputy director of public prosecutions, is not prepared to go down without a fight.

On Wednesday, the Mokgoro Inquiry, which is led by retired Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, probing the fitness of Jiba and advocate Lawrence Mrwebi to hold office in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), was due to hear incriminating evidence against the two.

Jiba and Mrwebi have, over the years, been accused of having been instrumental in the withdrawal of criminal and murder charges against former Crime Intelligence boss Richard Mdluli in 2011.

Jiba was also accused of having improperly charged former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen with racketeering charges allegedly without evidence - a decision that was scorned by a Durban High Court judge.

On Wednesday, evidence leader Nazreen Bawa was due to call advocate Jan Ferreira, a lead prosecutor in Pretoria, to testify about the mysterious withdrawal of charges against Mdluli and Booysen, and his reason for charging Jiba with fraud and perjury in 2015 before the charges were withdrawn.

But Jiba had none of it. She immediately lodged an application, asking Mokgoro not to allow Ferreira to testify, saying he was likely to be reappointed as a prosecutor if the charges of fraud and perjury were reinstated against her following a decision of the North Gauteng High Court in 2017.

The NPA had initially served an intention to appeal the ruling but has since withdrawn its decision.

Yesterday, the pending charges against Jiba prompted her legal team to argue that it would be wrong for the inquiry to hear Ferreira's evidence.

Her lawyer, advocate Thabani Masuku, said that allowing Ferreira to testify would impact on his client's right to a fair trial if charges were to be reinstated against her.

Ferreira was the lead prosecutor when the charges were preferred against Jiba in 2015.

Masuku argued that it was likely that he could be reappointed to the same post.

Due to that application, Mokgoro ordered the two parties to provide her with heads of argument on whether Ferreira's testimony would infringe on Jiba's right to a fair trial.

Mokgoro is expecting the heads of arguments tomorrow morning before she could pass her verdict on the matter.

Pending Mokgoro’s ruling, Jiba looks set to oppose the testimony of Booysen - who, according to the inquiry's plan, was due to take the stand today.

Former NPA prosecutor Gerrie Nel is likely to testify on Friday, but Jiba looks likely also to block his testimony.

In November last year, Nel, through the civil society organisation AfriForum, undertook to support Booysen by undertaking the private prosecution of Jiba if the NPA failed to reinstate the criminal charges against her.

The inquiry continues.

Political Bureau