Nomgcobo Jiba feels the heat as the Bar Council seeks her removal
Weekend Argus / 27 January 2019, 1:00pm / LUNGANI ZUNGU AND LOYISO SIDIMBA
Cape Town - Suspended deputy national director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba is expected to come under heavy fire at an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.
The former head of Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal Johan Booysen is to testify at the Mokgoro inquiry on Friday.
Retired Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro is presiding over the inquiry into the fitness of Jiba and suspended special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi to hold office.
Jiba will have to answer for her conduct in the prosecution of Booysen, who successfully took the matter on review, accusing her of lying under oath.
Adding to Jiba’s woes are Constitutional Court documents, seen by Independent Media, which show that the General Council of the Bar (GCB)wants Jiba and Mrwebi disbarred.
“We submit that the findings of dishonesty are well-founded, and provide an ample basis justifying and in fact requiring the removal of Jiba and Mrwebi from the roll,” according to the heads of argument filed on behalf of the council.
In its heads of argument, the council states that Jiba and Mrwebi were wrong to abandon the prosecution of controversial national police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.
It declares that “the findings of dishonesty are well-founded, and provide an ample basis justifying and in fact requiring the removal of advocate Jiba”.
Booysen, who took early retirement in 2017, would, however, not be drawn into commenting on the content of his testimonies.
“I don’t really want to pre-empt my evidence at the two commissions of inquiry as it may compromise the proceedings.
“If Agrizzi’s allegations are found to be true, it is shocking. It then shows that Jiba has undermined the NPA and de facto established a parallel prosecuting authority comprising of a number of advocates at the NPA at the expense of the rule of law in the country,” said Booysen.
Former chief operations officer at Bosasa, Angelo Agrizzi, told the Zondo commission probing allegations of state capture that Jiba had received a monthly bribe of R100 000.
“If one looks at the Bosasa debacle they enabled corruption to flourish. Money that could have uplifted the poor of the country ended in the pockets of unscrupulous businessmen and certain political elitists,” said Booysen.
A source close to Booysen said he would deliver “explosive” testimony at both these commissions. Central to his testimony would be his “unfair” prosecution by the NPA allegedly at the behest of Jiba which was based on lies, said the source.
Last year, Booysen called for a probe into the NPA after a newspaper admitted that three of its major investigations had been based on lies.
Jiba’s alleged unethical conduct at the NPA was thrust into the spotlight this week at the Zondo and Mokgoro commissions of inquiry.
The Mokgoro inquiry, which was instituted by President Cyril Ramaphosa was investigating whether Jiba and Mrwebi were fit to hold office.
Part of this investigation included so-called Cator Manor death squads which placed Booysen at the centre of wrongdoing, including unjustified killings.
As a result, Booysen was suspended. Subsequently, Booysen was arrested along with 27 members of the unit in 2012.
Since then, he has been in and out of court.
The newspaper said it would also return the awards it won as a result of its stories.
In 2016, Booysen publisheded a book titled Blood on their Hands, in which he launched a broadside at the NPA top brass, including Jiba.
In the book, he reflected on the attempts to prosecute him on allegations of corruption from when he was head of the now-disbanded Cato Manor Serious and Violent Crimes Unit.
Asked about the reputational damage he suffered, Booysen said: “To me it is not about my image but rather the damage they have caused to the country.”
And while the NPA was a hotspot of deceit and corruption, the appointment of Shamila Batohi, who begins her stint next month, as the national director of public prosecutions (NDPP) was seen in many quarters as an important step in restoring the department’s integrity.
Lawson Naidoo, who is a legal and political commentator and the executive secretary of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution, said the NPA was in a state of disarray caused by Jiba’s conduct.
Naidoo believed that Batohi would turn the NPA around, “because she is a strong candidate that emerged from the interview process”.
But she needed the support of the people who were inside and outside of NPA to be able to turn around the institution, said Naidoo.
He said those who were responsible for the collapse of the NPA must be held accountable.