End of the road for Jiba, Mrwebi as justice committee set to recommend they not be reinstated at NPA

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Adocates Lawrence Mrwebi and Nomgcobo Jiba.
Adocates Lawrence Mrwebi and Nomgcobo Jiba.
Sarel van der Walt, Netwerk24

Advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi will not be reinstated at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

On Tuesday, the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services resolved it would not recommend to the National Assembly to have Jiba and Mrwebi reinstated in their positions at the NPA.

The committee will adopt its report on Wednesday and it will be before the National Assembly next Tuesday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa fired Jiba and Mrwebi in April following an inquiry headed by retired Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, News24 previously reported.

The inquiry found they were not "fit and proper to hold their respective offices", according to a statement from the Presidency.

The decision had to be referred to Parliament to determine whether Jiba and Mrwebi should be reinstated, not whether they should be fired.

Jiba made the committee's work easy when she wrote to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise earlier this month, stating she would not be seeking restoration by Parliament to her position in the NPA.

This after her court bid to order Ramaphosa and National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi to reinstate her "with all associated employment benefits with immediate effect", failed.

READ MORE: Nomgcobo Jiba ditches bid to return to NPA

DA MP Werner Horn said it would be a "serious overreach" if they reinstated someone who accepted the president's decision and findings of the Mokgoro inquiry. The other MPs agreed.

Mrwebi, however, complicated matters.

He wrote a letter to the committee on October 31, asking for an opportunity to be heard with his legal counsel. In the letter, Mrwebi expressed the view that Ramaphosa was not empowered to institute the inquiry.

In July, he was allowed to provide the committee with a representation, which he did.

Horn dismissed Mrwebi's argument about why Ramaphosa should not have instituted the inquiry. He said the committee was obliged to accept the findings of the inquiry and it was "not Parliament's role to act as a type of appeal court".

ANC MP Hishaam Mohamed said he could not see on what Mrwebi would enlighten the committee.

Committee chairperson Bulelani Magwanishe said Judge Robert Henney, who dismissed Jiba's application, asked why they have not sought to interdict Ramaphosa's decision to institute the inquiry.

Only one MP wanted to allow Mrwebi to address the committee - the EFF's Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

"How can a Parliament of the people say I won't hear someone who is asking to be heard. This is a Parliament of the people, Mrwebi is the people," Ndlozi said.

Several MPs pointed out Mrwebi had ample opportunity to communicate with the committee and that their process was fair.

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