PRETORIA, February 21 – Embattled deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba took the stand at the Mokgoro Inquiry on Thursday and denied all allegations and defended decisions which have been ruled to be unlawful by the courts, saying her colleagues harboured resentment towards her.
“I faced unfair and unjustified attacks. So harsh were these attacks that the Minister of Justice had to issue a statement in my defence.”
Jiba and her colleague, Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi are the subject of a probe into their fitness to hold office in the NPA.
Jiba said her promotion was not celebrated and said she was shocked to learn at the inquiry that her colleagues felt that she was not qualified for the position.
The inquiry is looking into matters raised over the pair’s conduct in several court cases, including the decision to withdraw charges against former head of Crime Intelligence, Richard Mdluli and attempts to prosecute former KwaZulu-Natal Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) boss Johan Booysen for racketeering without evidence.
On Thursday, Jiba repeated Mrwebi’s testimony that the case against Mdluli would have been lost because there was no direct evidence. “Our concern was that they would lead evidence that doesn’t directly link Mdluli.”
Even though Jiba’s decision to charge Booysen was scorned by a Durban High Court judge, she continued to defend herself saying there was nothing unlawful about her decision.
She explained that she assembled a team of senior advocates to help investigate the Cato Manor violent crimes unit which was headed by Booysen because the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) had complained that the case wasn’t moving.
“Twenty eight people were killed in that case and none of the police officials sustained injuries, they were killed in circumstances where they were subdued and did not pose a threat to the police officials. There wasn’t evidence that cops were attacked,” said Jiba in her defence.
Jiba said the only defence put forward by the Cato Manor unit was that they were acting in self-defence when the civilians were killed.
“None of them were injured or ever shot at. I can’t just say I won’t prosecute because they say self-defence,” said Jiba.
Judge Trevor Gorven threw out the charges against Booysen who was suspended at the time. The judge went on to describe Jiba’s decision to charge Booysen as “arbitrary, [and] offend the principle of legality and, therefore, the rule of law and was unconstitutional”, for which she was then criminally charged.
“I have never felt so betrayed by my own institution in my entire life as when I was paraded before a court as a criminal for exercising my own discretion. I didn’t understand,” Jiba told the commission of inquiry. (ANA)