NPA withdraws application for leave to appeal decision to withdraw charges against Jiba

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

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has withdrawn its application for leave to appeal a North Gauteng High Court ruling that set aside the decision by former National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams to withdraw charges against his deputy Nomgcobo Jiba.

Spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku confirmed to News24 on Thursday that the NPA wrote to Freedom under Law this week, informing the organisation of the NPA's decision. 

"We have complied with the order of the court. The former NDPP referred the matter to the [director of public prosecutions] in the North West to have the matter considered there so we realised there is no point in pursuing the appeal," Mfaku said. 

In August 2015, Abrahams withdrew charges of perjury and fraud against Jiba.

The charges related to her decision to prosecute Johan Booysen, the former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, on racketeering charges. 

In December 2017, the High Court ruled that then president Jacob Zuma should institute an inquiry into the conduct of Jiba and her colleague Lawrence Mrwebi. The two were also not allowed to enter the NPA offices in Pretoria.

Matter postponed indefinitely

Following the ruling, Jiba and the president applied for leave to appeal the decision. The president later withdrew his application.    

However, on Thursday the High Court acceded to Jiba's request to postpone her matter pending the outcome of the General Council of the Bar of South Africa's (GCB) application for leave to appeal against the ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

The matter was postponed indefinitely, Jiba's lawyer Zola Majavu told News24. 

Majavu said his client was not found to be unfit by any court of the law after being "vindicated by the SCA".

In July, the SCA overturned a ruling of the High Court that Jiba and Mrwebi be struck from the roll of advocates. The GCB later filed papers in the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal ruling.   

Majavu said they had argued that it would fetter the president's discretion for the court to proceed on Thursday as he had already started the disciplinary process.

NPA's 'stability' at stake

"In the end, the court agreed with us and the matter was accordingly postponed, which our client welcomes and respects.

"For now, our client awaits the decision of the president after we submitted reasons to him as to why our client should not be suspended, as per his request and/or the decision by the Constitutional Court," Majavu said.

Nicole Fritz of Freedom under Law, which brought an application seeking the suspension of Jiba and Mrwebi, said the matter needed to be brought to finality. 

"We believe it is important that stability, independence and integrity should be returned at the NPA.

"What was clear today…the court is of the view that the interim order that was granted directing [Jiba] not to present herself at the NPA offices pending the finalisation of the GCB matter is in operation.

"To the extent that she persists in going to the NPA, we believe her to be in contempt of court," she said.  

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