Council of the Bar disappointed after Jiba, Mrwebi ruling

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court found it didn’t have jurisdiction to rule on the matter because it had no constitutional bearing.

Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba at the Mokgoro inquiry on 21 February. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The General Council of the Bar says it is disappointed that the Constitutional Court dismissed its bid to have advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi disbarred.

On Thursday, the court found it didn’t have jurisdiction to rule on the matter because it had no constitutional bearing.

This meant the two advocates who were fired from the National Prosecuting Authority by President Cyril Ramaphosa could practice privately.

Chairperson of the Bar advocate Craig Watt-Pringle said their position was based on Jiba and Mrwebi’s failures and they were disappointed.

“We’ve got these final judgments that have never been overturned finding that Miss Jiba misled the court and was not honest, or whatever the wording was, and in the case of Mr Mrwebi there is one such finding.”

Watt-Pringle came short of saying the court failed the legal profession.

“The is no constitutional issue at play, there is no legal issue. What it comes down to is a highly technical approach.”

He said this ruling could warrant a legal reform

Meanwhile, Jiba’s lawyer advocate Zola Majavu said she wanted Parliament to pronounce on her dismissal and if it didn’t clear her, she would take the Mokgoro report that found her unfit to hold office on review.

Meanwhile, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said Parliament must back Ramaphosa's decision to fire Jiba and Mrwebi.

Outa said it was disappointed by the Constitutional Court decision to upholds a Supreme Court of Appeal ruling to keep on the two on the roll of advocates.

Chief legal officer advocate Stefanie Fick said Outa still had confidence in the courts and hoped the NPA and the Hawks would further investigate Jiba and Mrwebi to hold them to account.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)