ConCourt to deliver judgment in Jiba, Mrwebi matter

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Suspended deputy NPA boss Nomgcobo Jiba testifying before the Mokgoro inquiry. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)
Suspended deputy NPA boss Nomgcobo Jiba testifying before the Mokgoro inquiry. (Jeanette Chabalala, News24)

The Constitutional Court will hand down judgment in a General Council of the Bar of South Africa (GCB) application aimed at having axed deputy prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba and her colleague, Lawrence Mrwebi, struck from the roll of advocates.

The judgment will be delivered on Thursday at 10:00, the Constitutional Court said. 

The GCB initially succeeded in its striking off application before the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, but lost when the axed advocates took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). Now it wants to take the matter further, but needs the go-ahead from the Constitutional Court.

During arguments at the apex court in March, advocate Schalk Burger, SC, who represented the GCB, argued that the SCA had "misdirected itself as to the facts" in the majority judgment.

Burger also submitted that Jiba "gave false evidence in the opposing review" of former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Major General Johann Booysen.

"In fact, she had given false evidence in her answering affidavit deposed to in the Booysen matter."

Advocate Norman Arendse, SC, who represented Jiba, said: "We submit that... from the majority judgment and the minority judgment, that the NPA is not even discussed, so there is no impact on the independence of the NPA. None of those issues are discussed at all." 

Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi
Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrweb. (City Press, File)

Mrwebi's advocate Mervyn Rip, SC, submitted: "There [has] always been a factual attack on what his conduct was. We do not believe that anyone made any submissions to challenge the constitutionality of the NPA Act or any of its provisions.

'Incompetence or naivety'

"The attack is being based purely on Section 7 of the Admission of Advocates Act and whether or not they remain fit and proper to be admitted advocates."

Jiba was acting NDPP between December 28, 2011, and August 30, 2013. 

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

The case went to the SCA in Bloemfontein and, in July last year, the SCA overturned the High Court's ruling.

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, the court said: "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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