Justice minister sided with Jiba, Mwrebi – Nxasana

2016-09-16 21:30
Mxolisi Nxasana (City Press)

Mxolisi Nxasana (City Press)

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Johannesburg – Former NPA head Mxolisi Nxasana on Friday questioned why Justice Minister Michael Masutha previously failed to heed his call to take action against Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi.

Listening to Masutha’s interviews on the matter strengthened his feeling that he was taking sides, Nxasana told News24 in a telephonic interview on Friday.

“I cannot fathom why he takes an interest in the persons concerned, rather than being interested in the image of the institution, the NPA. He sounds like he’s now the spokesperson for these people.”

The High Court in Pretoria on Thursday ruled in favour of an application by the General Council of the Bar and ordered that both Jiba and Mrwebi be struck off the roll of advocates.

Jiba is deputy National Prosecuting Authority head and Mrwebi director of special prosecutions.

Nxasana said he felt vindicated by the ruling, as he felt Jiba was not fit to hold office.

Judge Francis Legodi said in his ruling that the two had brought the NPA and legal profession into disrepute by failing to prosecute former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

They should have stood "firm and vigorous" and persisted with their prosecution of Mdluli on fraud and corruption charges.

Jiba’s lawyer Zola Majavu said she would appeal.

Nxasana said he had vivid memories of how Masutha handled his own attempts to get Jiba removed in 2015. He said Masutha told him President Jacob Zuma would “definitely” take action against her.

They however first wanted to do deal with an inquiry into his own fitness to hold office, which Zuma had instituted. It was abruptly cancelled on May 11 last year. He resigned from the NPA in June last year.

Nxasana said that after he left office, he saw that Masutha had advised Zuma that there was no jurisprudential evidence to justify suspending Jiba.

Jiba ‘not protected’

He claimed Masutha took issue with what he thought could be a lengthy process.

“He went on to say the process initiated by the General Council of the Bar against the two would be definitive.”

Masutha told Talk Radio 702 on Friday that both he and Zuma failed to heed Nxasana’s advice because they wanted to avoid a multitude of legal processes based on the same facts.

Masutha said he was aware, informally, of a pending legal case against Jiba and thought it best to allow that to take place.

He denied claims that Jiba was being protected.

“At no stage was I in any way under the impression that anyone was untouchable. Nxasana himself was also the subject of a pending inquiry, which was later abandoned.

“We acted because we wanted rapid stability and didn’t think protracted legal processes would be a positive step in that direction,” he said.

Nxasana said he would wait to see what happened next.

Read more on:    npa  |  michael masutha  |  mxolisi nxasana

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