NPA inaction on Jiba prosecution prompts fresh threats for court intervention

More than eight years of delays and obfuscation by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the case against former Deputy National Director of Prosecutions Adv. Nomgcobo Jiba must come to an end. That is the unambiguous message to Adv. Shamila Batohi, the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), in yet another letter from AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit. Batohi has now been warned, that failure to explain why Jiba has not been prosecuted will leave the unit with no other choice but to approach the court for necessary relief. 

In April 2015, Jiba was charged and appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court. However, in August 2015, former NDPP Adv. Shaun Abrahams withdrew the charges against Jiba. Two years later the High Court in Pretoria reviewed and set aside that decision, which should have led to the NPA simply re-enrolling the case.

The Private Prosecution Unit represents the complainant, former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal Johan Booysen and applied for a nolle prosequi-certificate on 16 November 2017. Since then, efforts to get any meaningful update on the case have been futile, and the most recent response from the Investigating Directorate (ID) is plainly unprofessional and discourteous.

Adv. Gerrie Nel, head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, in his letter to Batohi expressed exasperation at the NPA’s continued evasive conduct and made specific reference to a response received from the Investigating Director, Adv. Andrea Johnson, and the NPA’s failure to deal with earlier complaints. “The irresistible inference is that you and the NPA management condone the discourteous manner and unprofessional conduct displayed by the ID. But, unfortunately, the tone of the response goes further by indicating that the ID owes society and victims of crime no consideration.

“We have reached the end of our tether and believe that all possible ‘excuses or reasons’ to justify any further delay have been exhausted. Therefore, we further submit that failing to adhere to the court order to re-enrol the matter manifests further irrationality and contempt.

“This matter has been with the NPA for more than eight years. When considering some of the ‘excuses or reasons’ for the delay in bringing the matter to finalisation, it becomes glaringly obvious that the NPA is either incapable of progressing or deliberately avoiding prosecution because the accused remains privy to political protection,” said Nel.

Nel makes it clear that the only way to ensure a cessation of any further unreasonable and inexplicable delays in re-enrolling the matter is to approach a court for the necessary relief. Batohi has been given 14 days to provide a meaningful response.

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