Zuma’s decision not to institute inquiry into Jiba is unconstitutional

Reading Time: 2 minutes


The North Gauteng High Court heard that President Jacob Zuma’s decision not to institute an inquiry into the fitness of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Advocates Lawrence Mrwebi and Nomgcobo Jiba to hold office was unconstitutional.

“The President was not entitled to second guess the judgement of the court and his decision was therefore unconstitutional,” said Freedom Under Law (FUL) advocate Max du Plessis.

In September in 2016‚ Jiba and special director of public prosecutions Lawrence Mrwebi were struck off the roll of advocates.

In February ‘President Zuma decided not to suspend Jiba and Mrwebi‚ or to institute an inquiry into their conduct.

The President said having considered that the high court has granted Jiba and Mrwebi leave to appeal against an order striking them off the roll of advocates‚ he decided not to suspend them pending finalisation of the appeal process.

Their striking off from the roll related to their conduct in several cases. These include the decision to drop charges against suspended head of police crime intelligence Richard Mdluli.

Freedom Under Law wants the court to declare President Jacob Zuma’s failure to institute an inquiry into the conduct of Jiba and Mrwebi as unlawful and to direct the president to institute such an inquiry.

“The law is clear; the President had a duty to institute an inquiry into the fitness of Miss Jiba and Mr Mwrebi.”

Du Plessis said it is the duty of the President to question the good faith of any officer of the court.

Advocate Hilton Epstein for Zuma argued that FUL’s application was premature and they should have at least waited for the matter to be finalised at the Supreme Court of Appeal as it was still pending.

In January, in the same court, Judge Wendy Hughes said Jiba and Mrwebi had provided compelling reasons for their appeal to be heard but warned that they may fail.