Jiba said 'we need to cut our losses' in famous 'Amigos' case - NDPP candidates tells panel

2018-11-16 17:01
Nomgcobo Jiba (Theana Breugem, file)

Nomgcobo Jiba (Theana Breugem, file) (Foto: Theana Breugem)

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Suspended deputy prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba allegedly told then KZN acting director of public prosecutions of Simphiwe Mlotshwa that they should "cut their losses" with regard to some witnesses in the infamous Amigos case.

Mlotshwa who is vying for the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) told the panel on Friday that he temporarily filled the role of acting DPP for KZN after Shamila Batohi left for the International Criminal Court.

OVERVIEW: #NDPPInterviews candidate says allegations of racism against her are 'in the past'

Interviews are currently under way at the Union Buildings. Eleven candidates are being interviewed by a panel headed by Energy Minister Jeff Radebe.

Mlotshwa, who started from humble beginnings as a cleaner, said when he was acting DPP, he made several decisions which were never challenged. What the panels sees is what they get, he said.

Advocate Jaap Cilliers SC told complimented him and said: "...what one sees is what one gets, and I like what I see."

Fallout

Mlotshwa was asked about the infamous Amigos matter in which he persisted with the prosecution of two ANC politicians implicated in the trial.

Mlotshwa reportedly had a fall-out with his superiors at the NPA over his decision to proceed with the prosecution of MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu and legislature speaker Peggy Nkonyeni on corruption charges, News24 previously reported.

Mlotshwa said in 2012 he received a call from Jiba, who was acting NDPP following Menzi Simelane's tenure.

"I told her I will come with my team," he said.

Present at the meeting was advocate Willie Hofmeyer, current acting NDPP Silas Ramaite, Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi, he said.

Jiba and Mrwebi were suspended in October after Ramaphosa announced his decision to institute inquiries into their fitness to hold office.

"The meeting started and she [Jiba] said: 'I understand that the DPP KZN requires assistance in the matter and guys we need to cut the loss in a sense that some of the accused must be removed from the matter,'" Mlotshwa told the panel.

Mlotshwa replaced

But Mlotshwa refused to bow down to pressure from his colleagues. Following this, Mlotshwa was replaced by current DPP Moipone Noko.

He also said Raimaite had been meeting with his team on the matter without his knowledge.  

"You were deliberately removed from this case so that it can be withdrawn by those who took over?" a panellist asked.

Mlotshwa replied: "Seems to suggest that way."

Asked how he felt about Noko's appointment, Mlotshwa said: "To be brutally honest with you, I wasn't happy [that he was replaced with Noko]. As I indicated to you, there was a very strong view that I needed to take my matter to court."

Mlotshwa said Noko reported to him before she was appointed in his position.

He also painted a picture of what the institution was like when he was removed as the acting DPP.

"It was not easy, I was depressed [and] I had to go to an operation. I am a comrade marathon runner and my doctors had recommended that I do not run the 2012 Comrades marathon.

"The system was letting me down, paranoid, affecting my family, affecting my kids, the thought of resigning sprang into my mind.

"There was a view that said if I resign it would appear I messed up," he said.

Stressful job

Mlotshwa who appeared calm during his interview told the panel that the prosecution job was "quite stressful" and that the good thing one needs to do is to continuously engage with people.

On Thursday, the panel also interviewed Noko who faced tough questions.

A 2013 decision to lay crimen injuria charges against a Durban judge, only to withdraw them a year later and be sued, hung over Noko like a dark cloud as she faced tough questions from the panel of interviewers.

Noko's decision to withdraw a case which resulted in now retired KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Chiman Patel being awarded R900 000 in damages in a decision against her as well as reasons why she thought she could handle the position of NDPP were central parts of the line of questioning.

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