Mokgoro Inquiry: Jiba wanted prosecutor to sign Cato Manor indictment without evidence attached
1 February 2019
Former acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, wanted prosecutor Simphiwe Mlotshwa to sign an indictment in the Cato Manor case, despite not having any of the evidence on hand, the Mokgoro inquiry has heard.
Mlotshwa was testifying at the inquiry on Friday. It has been tasked with establishing whether Jiba and suspended special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi are fit for office.
According to the witness, while he was the acting Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in KwaZulu-Natal in 2012, he received a call from Jiba who told him that there was a matter that had to be enrolled urgently because of pressure.
"I informed her that I would first read the dockets and make a decision accordingly," Mlotshwa said in his affidavit, which was presented to the inquiry.
Jiba then repeated that the matter was urgent and Mlotshwa said that he did not have the prosecutors to look at the dockets.
A few days later, Mlotshwa received a call from Gauteng DPP Andrew Chauke who told him Jiba had instructed that Chauke send a team of prosecutors from Gauteng to prosecute the Cato Manor case.
The Cato Manor case involves former KZN Hawks head, General Johan Booysen, and scores of detectives, who were implicated in the so-called, but now discredited, Cato Manor death squads.
Booysen and others were charged with racketeering and murder. Charges against Booysen have since been withdrawn following successful court applications.
Sign the indictment
While attending a DPP meeting, Mlotshwa was called into a meeting with Jiba and Chauke. There, Jiba told him that she had a legal opinion that Mlotshwa could sign off the delegation for the prosecutors who would be prosecuting the Cato Manor case.
Jiba further instructed Mlotshwa to signed the indictment in terms of the legal opinion from advocate Gerhard Nel.
"I told advocate Jiba and advocate Chauke that I was going to sign the indictment only if it was accompanied by the prosecutor's memo or report detailing evidence implicating each accused as individuals and the evidence implicating all of the accused as a collective," Mlotshwa said.
Mlotshwa later received the indictment via e-mail from Chauke's personal assistant, that did not contain the prosecutor's memo or report or even the case numbers from the police. He then exchanged a number of e-mails with Chauke, copying in Jiba and requesting the additional information.
He also testified that inquests into the Cato Manor case found that no one should be held responsible and that galvanised him to not sign the indictment.
Felt like a terrorist
Mlotshwa testified that when Chauke took over the Cato Manor case, he felt like he was being undermined and treated badly.
He added that he believed he was being pressured to resign and that he was treated badly by his successor after being relieved of his DPP duties by Jiba.
He said the institution was so toxic that he eventually caved in and resigned in 2015.
At a personal level, Mlotshwa had a very cordial relationship with Jiba, he said, adding that he never held a grudge against her.