Two of the most controversial figures to ever grace the National Prosecuting Authority have earned an elusive court victory on Thursday morning: Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi were successful in seeing off an appeal to get them struck off the advocates roll in South Africa’s Constitutional Court (ConCourt).
BREAKING NEWS: Constitutional Court rules Mrwebi and Jiba should not be struck from the advocates roll. pic.twitter.com/ncWTPav1NW
— eNCA (@eNCA) June 27, 2019
The pair were relieved to see ConCourt uphold the judgement passed down by the Supreme Court of Appeal earlier this year – which was made shortly after the Mokgoro Inquiry suggested that neither were “fit to hold office”. The application to have them barred from their profession was initially granted by the Pretoria High Court.
ConCourt: What does the judgement mean for these two?
Cyril Ramaphosa subsequently dismissed them from the NPA, with the credibility of Nombcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi at an all-time low. However, this decision allows them to carry on practising law in South Africa – even if it means they’re unlikely to dine at the top table ever again.
For the judges on the bench, it all came down to what is enshrined in our Constitution. None of the lawmakers believed that their incompetence in government was enough to force them out of their industry. The judgment was unanimous from the justices.
Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi: What they’ve done
Let’s start with Jiba: She has been accused of all sorts, from nepotism to cronyism. The legal professional has suffered staunch criticism for the dismissal of Hawks chief Johan Booysens, without sufficient grounds to do so. The Mokgoro Inquiry also said she “lacks conscientiousness in considering the reputation of the NPA” before her own.
Meanwhile, Mrwebi was found to have acted against the interests of the NPA too, when he withdrew charges against Richard Mdluli – showing “a lack of integrity towards the rule of law”. The ex-Crime Intelligence boss was dismissed in 2011 due to his suspected involvement in the murder of his partner but received his full salary for the next seven years.
Both Jiba and Mrwebi have been accused of dropping the ball on that particular case, but it seems their indiscretions haven’t been enought to get them permanently ejected from the world of advocacy.