Yacoob calls for judicial commission into NPA

Retired Constitutional Court Justice Zak Yacoob has recommended a full judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the rot at the top levels of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

City Press can today reveal that Yacoob, who was appointed by national director of public prosecutions Mxolisi Nxasana to conduct a fact-finding inquiry into the NPA, has found sufficient evidence to warrant the appointment of a judicial commission of inquiry with powers to subpoena witnesses.

Two of South Africa’s most senior state prosecutors, Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi, allegedly refused to cooperate with Yacoob’s initial fact-finding committee.

Jiba is a deputy director of the NPA, and Mrwebi heads up the specialised commercial crimes unit.

Beeld reported this week the NPA had formally complained about the pair to Justice Minister Michael Masutha because they’d refused to participate in the probe.

Two senior NPA sources have confirmed Yacoob’s findings to City Press, though the judge himself refused to comment.

Responding to questions about Yacoob’s report, NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said the fact-finding committee’s task was to conduct preliminary investigations and make recommendations.

“If, for instance, it were to find that there are serious challenges within the institution that require drastic measures to be taken to address them, like appointing a commission of inquiry that has full powers to subpoena and compel people to appear before it, then it would so recommend.”

Mncube said Nxasana was dealing with the report and would take “appropriate steps” when he had finished studying the report.

The stalemate at the top levels of the NPA has now dragged into its fifth month, with Nxasana himself facing an inquiry into his fitness to hold office.

Masutha this week said there was still no update on Nxasana’s fate at the NPA.

“At this stage, we’ve not yet reached a point where we can make an announcement on what the status of the matter is, save to say it is still very much being dealt with between our office and, of course, the office of the presidency.”

In July, President Jacob Zuma announced there would be a commission of inquiry into Nxasana’s fitness to hold office.

But the threat of an urgent interdict led to negotiations between Zuma and Nxasana, who believes he was the victim of a ploy by Jiba and Mrwebi to oust him.

Both Jiba and Mrwebi, as well as Sibongile Mzinyathi, the director of public prosecutions for south Gauteng, have also had criminal charges laid against them in relation to their management of criminal charges in the case of suspended crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

Nxasana has made representations to Masutha requesting that the president suspend Jiba, Mrwebi and Mzinyathi, another process where there have been no developments.

On Thursday, Masutha said the matter was receiving attention, but he was not in a position to provide further

details. A senior NPA source told City Press that the matter “was now in the hands of the politicians”.

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