THE Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused President Jacob Zuma in court papers of acting unlawfully by failing to take action against Nomgcobo Jiba and of passing the buck to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Shaun Abrahams.
The DA filed its heads of argument on Wednesday to the High Court in Cape Town in its quest to get Ms Jiba, who is Mr Abrahams’s deputy at the NPA, suspended and have an inquiry instituted into her fitness to hold office.
Willie Hofmeyr, who was last year moved from the Asset Forfeiture Unit to head up the NPA’s legal affairs division, has submitted an affidavit, calling into question Mr Abrahams’s version of the controversial decision to drop criminal charges against Ms Jiba, who has been the subject of stinging judgments.
One of Mr Abrahams’s first major announcements soon after he assumed office was that perjury charges against Ms Jiba had been dropped.
This controversial decision led to a storm of criticism and questions being raised about his independence.
At the time, Mr Abrahams said the decision was not his, but that of Marshall Mokgatlhe, regional head of the special commercial crime unit.
The DA argues in its court papers that Mr Zuma’s not suspending Ms Jiba is “patently unlawful and irrational” in light of judicial criticism of her conduct.
The opposition party referred to three separate cases in which various judges examined Ms Jiba’s conduct.
These included a challenge to her decision to set aside charges against former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli; Ms Jiba charging KwaZulu-Natal Hawks boss Johan Booysen; and the “spy tapes” case that resulted in charges being dropped against Mr Zuma.
The judges accused Ms Jiba of lying, failing to comply with orders, ignoring deadlines, failing to exercise an independent mind, and “shielding irrational and illegal actions from judicial scrutiny”, says the DA.
The General Council of the Bar is also pursuing a case in which it seeks to have Ms Jiba struck off the roll of advocates.
The DA says Mr Zuma submitted a letter from the opposition party and his statement indicating that he would not suspend Ms Jiba only when the party filed its notice of motion. However, the president was required to provide all records of his decision not to suspend Ms Jiba.
However, in his answering affidavit to the DA’s challenge to his decision, the president states that he received oral advice from the minister of justice on the matter and the minister was in turn advised by Mr Abrahams, says the DA.
The party concluded that Mr Zuma had simply “rubber-stamped” Mr Abrahams’s decision.
It argues that not acting against Ms Jiba is “contrary to the independence of the NPA” and that the president “passed the buck” on exercising statutory power assigned to him alone. The DA is asking the court to suspend Ms Jiba, pending an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.