Deputy National Prosecuting Authority head Nomgcobo Jiba should be suspended immediately and an inquiry set up into her fitness to hold office.
University of Cape Town constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos said the law required Zuma to place Jiba and NPA commercial crimes unit head Lawrence Mrwebi on special leave, before instituting a board of inquiry into her fitness to hold office in terms of the NPA act.
Jiba has been found to have deliberately used “duck-and-dive tactics” and running a steadfast campaign to drop charges against Richard Mdluli, a self-proclaimed President Jacob Zuma loyalist.
De Vos said: “The president can only suspend her once he’s appointed a board of inquiry into her fitness to hold office, so we’ll have to see whether he’s going to wait for the court process to unfold.
“In the meantime, we have a difficult situation because there’s now somebody the court [has] found not to be fit and proper, and is not legally entitled to do the job.
“If she’s not suspended that creates great difficulty,” he said.
Glynnis Breytenbach, the DA MP who was also at the centre of the Mdluli saga while she worked at the NPA before becoming a legislator, said Zuma had a duty to suspend Jiba and Mrwebi.
Zuma’s spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga did not respond to requests for comment.
Pretoria High Court Judge Francis Legodi’s damning findings yesterday followed a court application by the General Council of the Bar to have the NPA’s senior managers removed from the roll of practising advocates.
This means that Jiba and Mrwebi could lose their jobs, after the court ordered that they be struck off the roll of advocates as they are not fit and proper to hold those positions, as is required by law.
Advocate Zola Majavu, who represented both Jiba and Mrwebi in the matter, said the findings would be appealed.
Former NPA boss Mxolisi Nxasana, who had reported Jiba and Mrwebi to the bar council after her conduct in the Mdluli saga was criticised in the Pretoria High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeals, welcomed the ruling.
“It’s a landmark ruling. They now have to leave the NPA because they are not longer fit and proper to be lawyers.
“If I was still there, I would request the president to grant them special leave while they are still appealing. It’s not wise to keep them with this judgment over their heads,” Nxasana said.
Luvuyo Mfaku, spokesman for current NPA head Shaun Abrahams, said he had no comment on the matter as they were still studying the judgment.
Shortly after Abrahams took over the top job at the NPA, he ordered the case against Jiba to be reevaluated – although she had already appeared in court – and a decision was taken that she had signed the affidavit in good faith.
The charges were withdrawn, against the wishes of the prosecutors involved.