NEWS & ANALYSIS

Why is Zuma allowing Jiba to wreck the NPA? - Glynnis Breytenbach

DA MP sets out why the deputy NDPP should be included in the Nxasana Inquiry

The story of Nomgcobo Jiba should make her the primary subject of Zuma's inquiry

2 April 2015

Note to editors: The following remarks were made during a press conference by DA Parliamentary Leader, Mmusi Maimane MP, DA Shadow Minister of Justice, Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP and DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Werner Horn MP on why it is critical that deputy NPA boss, Nomgcobo Jiba, be included in the Nxasana Inquiry.

On 5 July 2014 President Jacob Zuma, acting in accordance with section 84 (2)(f) of the Constitution, announced an Inquiry into the sitting National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), Mxolisi Nxasana. 

This was because President Zuma no longer felt that Nxasana was a fit and proper person to hold office as he had not obtained the necessary security clearance from the State Security Agency due to a run-in with the law some twenty years ago.

President Zuma should have waited for Mr Nxasana to get security clearance before appointing him in the first place. In any event, Mr Nxasana settled his business with the courts and was acquitted of murder which made him eligible to hold office. The DA soon came to the conclusion that Mr Zuma used the matter of security clearance as a pretext to get rid of Mr Nxasana because he was determined to carry out the duties of the office independently,  and without fear or favour. He has done so ever since. This, one can only assume, constituted an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship for Mr Zuma. 

All the while, deputy Director of National Public Prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, wreaked havoc on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) without any consequence from the Justice Minister and the President himself. Ms Jiba's conduct has indeed seen the erosion of the NPA. Knowing all this President Zuma has failed to act appropriately but has instead targeted Mr Nxasana who has no pending matters before the courts and has discharged his mandate independently.

Why is that?

As such the DA today announces our intention to make a formal submission to the President to have Ms Jiba included in the Inquiry. We submit that for him to absolve her of such a probe would be a gross miscarriage of justice. The President's decision not to include her in the terms of reference is irrational and he must diligently consider the DA's submissions.

It is inexplicable that Mr Nxasana should find himself on the line in an Inquiry, while Ms Jiba was expressly found by the Supreme Court of Appeal to be unfit for office and found to be dishonest by the KwaZulu Natal High Court. It therefore beggars the mind why Mr Nxasana is the subject of Inquiry and why Ms Jiba isn't.

South Africa has one of the strongest constitutional legislative frameworks in the world.  It is designed to ensure that all her citizens live in safety and security, and that everyone is equal before the law. It is these principles that should guide the criminal justice system in the performance of its duties.

The President, instead of reaffirming this constitutional imperative, has used his powers of appointment to parachute people into high positions of power who represent the very worst in our criminal justice system.

This is perhaps the gold standard of undue political interference in a fairly new constitutional democratic dispensation. It is this very political interference that has a death grip on our prosecutorial independence and threatens our criminal justice system. This presumably all for one man. 

Indeed Ms Jiba has done all in her power to ensure that President Zuma and those close to him - like the disgraced Crime Intelligence Head, Richard Mdluli - escape accountability.

Ms Jiba was promoted from senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DDPP) to DNDPP - an incredible feat - over the heads of many other more capable senior officials in the NPA.  This was done by President Zuma at the death of the Menzi Simelane reign of destruction at the NPA. The move was clearly designed to take over the protection of the President where Simelane, and Mokotedi Mpshe before, had left off.

Ms Jiba has operated with Machiavellian efficiency and apparent impunity, destroying the NPA and the Rule of Law, with no regard for the damage done to the NPA. 

She clearly thought she could do so without consequence, enjoying the protection of the President. So much so that her husband, Booker Nhantsi, was pardoned and had his criminal record expunged for no apparent reason after having been convicted of stealing trust monies by the Mthatha High Court. Whether or not she was behind this is unclear but certainly raises questions.

Ms Jiba's conduct has subsequently been slated by various courts. To make matters worse, it is still unclear whether or not she is in fact an admitted advocate. Inexplicably, she has not provided any irrefutable evidence of her admission as an advocate.

Despite all this, President Zuma has found it fit to retain her in her current position when she is clearly not beyond reproach as a person of her station ought to be.

The timeline of Ms Jiba's troubled career in our criminal justice system is as follows:

She appears to have developed a serious grudge against Gerrie Nel for what she perceived as his involvement in the criminal investigation and prosecution of her husband - Booker Nhantsi.

Nhantsi was tried and convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment for theft of trust monies while he had practiced as an attorney in the Transkei. After being the only one in this matter to have his record expunged he was appointed as prosecutor and Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. Why was he given this treatment? 

After serving his term of imprisonment, Nhantsi's criminal record was expunged by President Zuma for reasons that are not known, and he now enjoys a well-paid job in government service. Until mr Zuma can make clear this series of events it is unclear whether Ms Jiba was involved in securing this preferential treatment for her husband.

She oversaw the investigation and prosecution of the KZN Hawks boss, Johan Booysen - authorising charges of racketeering without any basis in law, as found by the KZN High Court in a scathing judgment on her fitness to hold office for allegedly perjuring herself. This is conduct for which she currently faces criminal charges. 

She oversaw the withdrawal of murder and corruption charges against Richard Mdluli. She was subsequently suffered a scathing indictment by the North Gauteng High Court. 

Ms Jiba also presided over the Spy Tapes saga which saw an almost six year delay for which she was instrumental in ensuring. The Supreme Court of Appeal explicitly stated that she acted in a manner that made her unfit to hold her position.

Ms Jiba has, since the onset of her career in this office, behaved in a manner most unbecoming of a prosecutor, and has brought the NPA into disrepute in the process.

The DA has just this week been able to obtain an affidavit from the NPA as to why the 783 charges against President Jacob Zuma were dropped in the first place. 

Most recently Ms Jiba has displayed a level of impunity that could only be informed by the protection provided by those senior political leadership. With wanton disregard for due process Ms Jiba has:

been criticised for refusing to cooperate in an Inquiry in the NPA senior management.

been absent from work without leave, on taxpayers' money.

refused to accept a summons in a criminal matter.

arrogantly indicated that she will only co-operate with certain individuals in the SAPS, and not with others.  This type of behavior is both ludicrous and unbecoming.

Presently, Ms Jiba is the subject of an Inquiry by the Pretoria Bar Council, along with Mwrebi and North Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions, Sibongile Mzinyathi, to be struck from the Roll of Advocates as not fit and proper to be members of the profession.

At the time when it became obvious, even to President Zuma, that she could not be appointed permanently as NDPP without being challenged, he appointed Mr Nxasana. It is therefore implicit in his decision not to make her permanent that she is not for office.

In the face of this overwhelming preponderance of egregious misconduct, President Jacob Zuma simply cannot allow Ms Jiba to continue this assault on our nation's prosecuting authority.

She has lied, cheated and misled both the public and the courts by influencing matters of great importance in the name of political patronage.

The fact that she is still in office, without an inquiry, is proof of presidential protection. If the President is at all serious about restoring integrity to the NPA he must fire her and failing that he should, without delay, make her the subject of this ongoing probe into Nxasana.

Statement issued by Adv Glynnis Breytenbach MP, DA Shadow Minister of Justice, April 2 2015

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