A dan­ger called Jiba

CityPress - - Voices -

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.

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