AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit demanded answers in a letter to Adv. Shamila Batohi, the National Director of Public Prosecution (NDPP), about why the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) according to statements in the media have apparently reconsidered their decision regarding the prosecution of Nomgcobo Jiba, former Head of the NPA, for fraud and perjury. As has now become customary with government departments, the Private Prosecution Unit simply received acknowledgement of receipt of their letter, but no proper answer. The letter was already sent to the NPA on 3 September 2020.
This follows after the NPA informed AfriForum in writing in March of this year that a decision had been taken to prosecute Jiba. AfriForum and Adv. Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, threatened the NPA with a mandamus application in November 2019 to take a decision about the prosecution of Jiba regarding criminal charges brought against her by Genl. Johan Booysen, former Head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal. The Private Prosecution Unit also announced some time ago that it intended to privately prosecute Jiba. According to recent media reports the Investigative Directorate (ID) has now, however, requested that the prosecution of Jiba not continue in order to enable them to first understand “broader issues” and that these issues first had to be finalised before a decision could be taken regarding the prosecution of Jiba.
According to Adv. Nel it is concerning that the NPA’s communication to the public creates the impression that the ID can revoke or amend the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Pretoria to prosecute. “This is not the case, the final decision regarding the institution of prosecution is vested only in the DPP. The inference that can be drawn from this, is that it is simply another delaying tactic to prevent the case from finally being tried.”
The NPA is also, with this further delay, failing to give effect to the North Gauteng High Court’s ruling in Freedom Under Law v NDPP that the case against Jiba should be placed on the roll again. The decision by Shaun Abrahams, former NDPP, not to prosecute Jiba has been recalled by the DPP, and rightly so. “However, it now seems that the NPA is simply ignoring this ruling,” says Adv. Nel.
According to AfriForum the charges of fraud and perjury that Genl. Booysen laid against Jiba in KwaZulu-Natal apply only to Jiba as an individual. “The only aim of the NPA’s apparent decision to increase the scope of the investigation, seems to be to unnecessarily complicate a relatively simple case and to delay or even cancel the prosecution of Jiba.”