The National Prosecuting Authority’s deputy national director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, and special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi’s have been granted leave to appeal a court decision which saw them struck off the state prosecutor’s roll of advocates last year and subsequently placed on special leave.
In September, Judge Francis Legodi ruled in favour of the General Council of the Bar of South Africa, saying Jiba and Mrwebi were “not fit and proper” for their positions.
On Monday, the high court in Pretoria granted them leave to appeal the matter. In her judgment, Judge Wendy Hughes said Jiba and Mrwebi had provided compelling reasons for their appeal to be heard but warned that they may fail.
“If it is established that there are compelling reasons to to do so [grant leave of appeal], this court has discretion to grant leave to appeal on the merits, even if this court is of the view that there are no prospects of success,” Judge Hughes said.
The court said it was the interest of the public and the Constitution for the leave to appeal to be granted, because Jiba and Mwrebi occupy positions that are in public service and that are regulated, in part, by the Constitution.
“I find that this is the compelling reason for a referral to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA),” Hughes said.
The two have been criticised by judges and the SCA itself for their decision to withdraw charges of fraud, corruption and murder against suspended police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.
Jiba’s decisions to twice authorise the prosecution of former KwaZulu-Natal Hawks commander Johan Booysen were overturned by the courts.
In October, President Jacob Zuma asked the duo to make representations on why they should not be suspended after they were disbarred.
They argued that their suspension would be unlawful.
They will now wait to hear whether or not the SCA will hear their appeal.