Last chance for Nomgcobo Jiba, Lawrence Mrwebi
The joint committees on justice insisted at their meeting in Parliament that they will confine themselves to the Mokgoro report and President Cyril Ramaphosa's decision to fire them.
Jiba and Mrwebi, who were both senior prosecutors in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), were fired by Ramaphosa a few months ago after the findings by the Mokgoro inquiry.
Ramaphosa, in line with the law, has asked Parliament to endorse his decision to axe the two from the NPA.
But the portfolio committee on justice in the National Assembly and select committee on security and justice in the National Council of Provinces decided to give Jiba and Mrwebi 10 working days to make representations why they should not be fired.
The two committees will hear the matter separately.
Chairperson of the portfolio committee on justice in the National Assembly, Bulelani Magwanishe, said the submissions to be made by the two former senior prosecutors would not give them an opportunity to introduce new evidence.
“We agree that we are giving Mrwebi and Jiba 10 working days why they should be restored. Those documents will be sent to the select committee and the portfolio committee, and they will consider the matter separately,” said Magwanishe.
He said they were giving them an opportunity to respond because of potential legal challenges to the process.
“Our country is full of litigious people. We don't want a situation where our decision will be challenged on issues of procedure. We want to err on the side of caution,” he said.
Anele Gxoyiya of the ANC said the submissions by Jiba and Mrwebi was not a window for them to introduce new evidence.
He said Parliament must be clear that they must focus on the Mokgoro report and Ramaphosa’s decision to remove them.
“When we communicate to them, we must close an opportunity for them to introduce new things. Our work is cut and dry, in terms of focusing on the work of the President and recommendations of the commission. We don't have time to hear new things,” said Gxoyiya.
James Selfe of the DA said it was a sensible procedure that they be given 10 working days to make submissions to Parliament.
He said Ramaphosa has decided to remove them, but the job of Parliament was to decide whether they should be restored.
The joint committees also shot down a proposal by the EFF that Jiba and Mrwebi be invited to make oral representations.
The committees said the written submissions would be sufficient as they will also look at the Mokgoro report and Ramaphosa’s request for their removal.
The decision could be taken as early as next month.
But the joint committees will have to go through all the necessary documents, deliberate on the matter, and take a decision.