Jiba and Mrwebi investigation: Terms of reference revealed

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Nomgcobo Jiba. (Lisa Hnatowicz/Foto24, file)
Nomgcobo Jiba. (Lisa Hnatowicz/Foto24, file)

The inquiry into whether the National Prosecuting Authority's (NPA) Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi are fit to hold office should probe whether they fulfilled their responsibilities as senior officials and complied with the Constitution and the National Prosecuting Authority Act.

This was the instruction from President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday. 

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

Jiba was the Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions and Mrwebi the Special Director of Public Prosecutions.

In the terms of reference released on Friday in the Government Gazette, Ramaphosa wants the inquiry to probe whether Jiba properly exercised her discretion in relation to instituting and conducting criminal proceedings on behalf of the state.

Ramaphosa also wants the inquiry to probe whether Jiba duly respected court processes and proceedings as required by applicable prescripts and as a senior member of the National Prosecuting Authority. 

READ: Jiba meets her deadline, sends Presidency reasons why she should not be suspended

"[Has] she in any way brought the National Prosecuting Authority into disrepute by any of her actions or omissions," reads the terms of reference.

Turning to Mrwebi, the inquiry will probe whether he is fit and proper to hold office as a prosecutor in the prosecutorial services in particular, in the capacity as a special director of public prosecutions. 

The inquiry will also probe if he fulfilled his responsibility in his position and if he "acted at all times without fear, favour or prejudice". 

Ramaphosa has appointed former Constitutional Court judge Yvonne Mokgoro as the chairperson of the inquiry.

Mokgoro will be assisted by Kgomotso Moroka SC and Thenjiwe Vilakazi. The inquiry is expected to be completed within four months of its commencement. 

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa suspends NPA's Jiba, Mrwebi pending inquiry

In a letter to Jiba and Mrwebi, Ramaphosa said: "I have taken into account the serious nature of allegations that you are unfit to be in so high an office, where the work of our criminal justice system is central to the critical and pressing matter of all prosecutions, especially prosecution of corruption cases and [the safeguarding] of our public purse.

"You hold a senior position with influence over a large swathe of the NPA. It is the interest of the NPA's image as a whole that I consider here, and of the integrity of an enquiry (sic) that must result in the clearest and most convincing conclusions about the integrity, and sound leadership of the NPA."

In July, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned a ruling of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that Jiba and Mrwebi be struck from the roll of advocates.

However, the General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) later filed papers in the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the SCA ruling.

In the papers, GCB chairperson Craig Watt-Pringle SC said he believed there were "reasonable prospects of success in an appeal".

He said four judges found that striking-off orders should be made in the circumstances of the case and the three disagreed.

Jiba and Mrwebi are opposing the application.

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