Jiba gets to work another day after cautious court ruling

2016-05-23 19:04
Nomgcobo Jiba. (Netwerk24)

Nomgcobo Jiba. (Netwerk24)

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma scored his first court victory in a while when the Western Cape High Court ruled on Monday that he was not being irrational when he decided against suspending Deputy NDPP Nomgcobo Jiba.

''I find that there would have been no compelling reasons to substitute the president's decision with this court's order,'' Judge Nape Dolamo said.

He was responding to the DA's contention that Zuma acted irrationally by not suspending Jiba after allegations of misconduct were levelled against her.

In a lengthy and cautious judgment, Dolamo explained that he could see how, once Zuma had heard Jiba's side of the story, he had decided to not suspend her.

He could also not find any evidence that Jiba was being rewarded for making sure the corruption charges against Zuma were dropped. 

The DA initiated court proceedings in September last year after Zuma ignored the party’s ultimatum to initiate an inquiry into Jiba’s fitness to hold office. 

The DA had asked the court to set aside Zuma's decision not to invoke Section 12(6)(a) of the National Prosecuting Authority Act and hold an inquiry into her alleged misconduct.

Dolamo however found that the president's failure to appoint a commission of inquiry was not a failure to fulfill his constitutional obligations.

Zuma was entitled to use that power at his discretion, and he had done just that, he said.

Zuma had heard Jiba's side of the story via Justice Minister Michael Masutha and National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams, and noted that there was a General Council of the Bar (GCB) application to remove her as an advocate. Zuma felt a GCB application might carry more weight than an inquiry, which just carried recommendations.

Dolamo said even if he found Zuma had acted against the advice from Abrahams and Masutha, he could not have done anything anyway. This was because the separation of powers doctrine prevented him from ''wading in''.

No action taken against Jiba

The DA filed the application when it was at the end of its tether over what it believed were good reasons for Jiba to be fired and no action was being taken against her.

Not least of all was an accusation that Jiba had ignored a request by then-prosecutor and now-DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach to reconsider a decision not to prosecute former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mduli on murder, fraud, and corruption charges.

The DA was upset that Jiba had decided to not hand over the so-called ''spy tapes''. Zuma's lawyers presented these when he still faced fraud and corruption charges related to the country’s multi-billion rand arms deal. 

They apparently contain conversations which provided evidence of political interference in the decision to charge Zuma, and were provided as a reason for the charges against him being dropped. 

Jiba's reasons for hanging on to them was that she was afraid of doing something wrong.

The DA questioned why Abrahams dropped perjury charges against Jiba days after he had replaced Mxolisi Nxasana as NDPP in June 2015.

Dolamo said the DA had also not shown that there would be harm done if Jiba stayed on pending the GCB application, nor that her presence would affect the functioning of the NPA.

The DA was stunned when Dolamo dismissed the application with no order as to costs.

Breytenbach said they would probably appeal the judgment.

Read more on:    npa  |  nomgcobo jiba  |  cape town

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