Jiba likely to remain at the NPA pending appeal against SCA ruling

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Nomgcobo Jiba. (Lisa Hnatowicz, Beeld)
Nomgcobo Jiba. (Lisa Hnatowicz, Beeld)

Deputy prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba is likely to continue working at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) while the General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) applies for leave to appeal against a ruling that paved the way for her return.

Jiba, who initially asked to be placed on special leave, pending the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling, returned to work last week. 

The SCA overturned a ruling of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that she and colleague Lawrence Mrwebi be struck from the roll of advocates.

READ: Decision to appeal Jiba ruling not racist - General Council of the Bar

Speaking to News24 on Thursday, Jiba's lawyer Zola Majavu said he did not receive any instructions for her to be placed on special leave again.

"Until we are served with an application, we are constrained to comment. Such an appeal will in any event not affect her employment status with the NPA," Majavu said. 

NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said he would not comment on the matter until the relevant parties were served with court papers. 

The GCB is expected to file the application for leave to appeal next week in the Constitutional Court. 

Majavu had initially written to the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) to request that Jiba be allowed to resume her duties at the NPA. 

A fight back looms

Majavu indicated that Jiba intends to fight back when the GCB applies for leave to appeal the ruling.

The Bar said in a statement last week that the decision on whether it should appeal the judgment was "extensively debated".

"The matter was put to the vote and 18 members voted in favour of applying for leave to appeal. Twelve members voted against applying for leave to appeal and two members abstained," it said.

Jiba and Mrwebi were struck from the roll of advocates on September 15, 2016, after Judge Francis Legodi in the High Court agreed with the GCB that they were "not fit and proper" to be advocates.

The case went to the SCA in Bloemfontein and the Appeal Court ruled in favour of Jiba and Mrwebi.

ALSO READ: SCA overturns ruling that struck Nomgcobo Jiba, Lawrence Mrwebi off the roll of advocates

The judgment was split among five judges – three ruled in favour of Jiba and Mrwebi and the others disagreed and gave a dissenting judgment.

In the majority judgment, authored by Appeal Court Judge Jeremiah Shongwe, the SCA found that the GCB could not establish any misconduct on Jiba's part.

Turning to Mrwebi, he found that he "genuinely, did not comprehend what the concept 'in consultation' meant". However, the concessions he made under cross-examination indicated that he was at most, confused.

"As regards to Mrwebi, I am of the considered view that the court a quo treated him harshly. Mrwebi, notwithstanding his misconduct, did not personally gain anything from his actions.

"His failure to comprehend the concept of 'in consultation', in my view should perhaps be attributed to his incompetence or naivety rather than his honesty and lack thereof."

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