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‘General Council of the Bar failed to establish any misconduct against Jiba'

Acting Deputy President of the court Judge Jeremiah Shongwe handed down the majority judgment in Bloemfontein earlier on Tuesday.

FILE: Nomgcobo Jiba. Picture: EWN.

PRETORIA - The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has found that the General Council of the Bar’s case against deputy prosecutions boss Nomgcobo Jiba simply did not stand up to her explanations, and there was no finding of misconduct against her to warrant being struck from the roll of advocates.

Acting Deputy President of the court Judge Jeremiah Shongwe handed down the majority judgment in Bloemfontein earlier on Tuesday.

The High Court in Pretoria had found that Jiba and Advocate Lawrence Mrwebi were neither fit nor proper advocates for their handling in the matter involving the former head of crime intelligence Richard Mdluli.

Judge Shongwe found that the criticism levelled at Jiba was not in her capacity as acting head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), but as a litigant in a civil matter related to the decision to withdraw charges against Mdluli.

Shongwe says Jiba was represented by the State Attorney and received advice from the NPA’s legal affairs division, therefore, she cannot be seen as unfit or improper because she was advised in a particular way.

The advocate was also criticised for disregarding former prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach’s advice to peruse the case against Mdluli.

Shongwe held that Jiba should not be punished for reaching her own opinion based on the facts at her disposal and differing with Breytenbach.

The judge concluded that the general counsel of the bar failed to establish any misconduct against Jiba, therefore, failing to reach the first requirement to strike an advocate from the roll.

Judges Willie Seriti and Connie Mocumie concurred.

Judges Christiaan van der Merwe and Eric Leach were far less generous, finding that Jiba made objectively gave false statements under oath and her evidence was untruthful in three separate respects.

Van der Merwe found the issues extend beyond mere incompetence or unsuitability to hold high office but displayed dishonesty and lack of integrity.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)