The DA's Glynnis Breytenbach says embattled Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi are "relics from a dark chapter" in the history of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and must be removed from the institution "like cancer from a body".
Her reaction follows an announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that he suspended both from the NPA, pending the outcome of an inquiry into their fitness for office, led by former Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro.
They were both reinstated to the roll of advocates by the Supreme Court of Appeal earlier this year after being struck off. Both serve as deputy national directors of public prosecutions.
"The DA has always maintained that they are not fit and proper persons to occupy office. The pair were appointed and promoted to their exalted positions under the disastrous tenure of now disgraced former NDPP Shaun Abrahams," Breytenbach, herself a former senior prosecutor at the NPA, says in a statement.
She says Jiba and Mrwebi played integral roles in the "capture" of the NPA which led to charges against former president Jacob Zuma being delayed "for almost a decade while he, his family and his associates were allowed to plunder the national coffers with impunity".
Breytenbach says South Africans deserve a criminal justice system that is independent, just and effective. "If there is any hope for the revival of a near-terminally ill NPA, it is imperative that Jiba and Mrwebi be excised, like a cancer, from the body. Whether it is too late to save the patient, only time will tell…Jiba and Mrwebi are relics from a dark chapter in the institution's history and the sooner they leave the better it will be for all."
Earlier, Ramaphosa announced that advocate Kgomotso Moroka SC and Thenjiwe Vilakazi, an attorney, would assist Mokgoro. The evidence leader will be advocate Nazreen Bawa SC, who will also develop the terms of reference for the inquiry.
In a letter to Jiba and Mrwebi, the president 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 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 inquiry that must result in the clearest and most convincing conclusions about the integrity and sound leadership of the NPA."