A danger called Jiba
Before her press conference on Wednesday, Deputy National Director of Public Prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba was a bit of a mysterious figure.
Many knew she was a powerful and manipulative political player, but few had seen her lips move, heard her voice or observed her mannerisms.
This week, when she appeared before the nation to crow about the withdrawal of charges against her, all of the above – and more – was confirmed. She cut a nasty and scary figure.
When she spoke, she tried to tug at the nation’s heartstrings, talking about the injustices that had been visited on her and the pain she and her children had gone through while the charges had hung over her head.
“Everything that has happened and continues to happen – it hurts them, and it hurts me too,” she said.
She insisted she was a prosecutor of the highest integrity. She moaned about having being called names, including that of diva.
Surely diva is not the worst she has been called. Maybe that is what she wishes she were called. Khanyi Mbau, Sophie Ndaba and Bonang Matheba are divas, and are relatively harmless.
Jiba is not harmless. The judges of the high court and the Supreme Court of Appeal have come close to calling her a liar and said she was dishonest and unfit for office. Past and present colleagues have described her as a scary powermonger. Deviousness has shone through her behaviour and decision making.
This newspaper would like to add to the names she has been called. She is dangerous. Dangerous not because she will strangle anyone, but because she will strangle a vital institution of our constitutional democracy.
We concur with retired Constitutional Court Justice Johann Kriegler’s comments this week that she does not belong in the legal profession, let alone in the powerful role she is in. “A lawyer who lies to court is unfit to be a lawyer ... I am not sure if the public fully understands that a dishonest prosecutor is very much worse than a crooked judge,” he told the Mail & Guardian.
President Jacob Zuma, the only person with the power to remove her, owes the Constitution and rule of law a duty to act in accordance with the findings of the courts on Jiba.