Internal briefing session; Implication of court Judgement with regards to removal of Adv Jiba and Adv Mrwebi from Office by the President

NCOP Security and Justice

29 October 2019
Chairperson: Ms S Shaikh (ANC) (Limpopo)
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Meeting Summary

A senior Parliamentary legal advisor briefed the Select Committee on Security and Justice with regard to the removal from office of Advocate Jiba and Advocate Mrwebi by the President.

The Committee was reminded that Adv Jiba had filed an urgent application in August to stop Parliament from starting the process of considering her removal from office. She had been invited to make representations to the Committee as to why, or why not, she should be removed from office.

Parliament had decided not to oppose the matter, and had opted to file a notice to abide with an explanatory affidavit. The position of Parliament was that they would not stop voluntarily because a request had been made. This was a legislative obligation, and it could be stopped only by a court order.

Adv Jiba had sought reinstatement to her office, as well as a stay of the Parliamentary process. The Court had agreed with Parliament that the requested relief by Adv Jiba was not an interim order, as it had a final effect. The application had been dismissed with costs.

The legal advisor said that even though Parliament was anticipating  an appeal, there was currently no legal reason stopping Parliament from proceeding with its process. The only thing to consider was whether or not Adv Jiba would receive an additional ten working days to make representations, or if the timeframe should be shortened.

Adv Jiba had stated that she could not afford to make representations as she was currently out of a job. The office of the National Director for Public Prosecution had offered to fund her so that she could make representations to Parliament. However, this meant the office was funding her legal representation, even though this was not allowed. It was permissible for someone appearing to be assisted by a lawyer when preparing the representation, but the actual person had to make the representation to the Committee, not the lawyer.

Members deliberated on the amount of time that ought to be given to Adv Jiba. Some felt that the matter should be expedited and the amount of time should be shortened. Others wanted uniformity and suggested the Select Committee should offer the same amount of time as the Portfolio Committee. It was also suggested that the Committee should wait until Adv Jiba had exhausted all her legal options before initiating the process.

Members wanted to know what role the National Council of Provinces should play in assisting with her appearance, seeing that she did not have the financial means to appear before the Committee. They also observed that there was already a judgment in place, and that there was currently no appeal, so the Committee should proceed.

The Committee was briefed by the Content Advisors on the draft notice on the Firearm Amnesty, as well as the Hydrographic Bill, in preparation for upcoming meetings.

Meeting report

Mr Siviwe Njikela, Senior Parliamentary Legal Advisor, briefed the Committee on the removal of  Advocate Jiba and Advocate Mrwebi from office by the President.

He reminded the Committee that Advocate Jiba had filed an urgent application in August to stop Parliament from starting the process of considering her removal from office by the President. She had been invited to make representations to the Committee as to why or why she should not be removed from office.

Parliament had decided not to oppose the matter, and had opted to file a notice to abide with an explanatory affidavit.

The position of Parliament was that they would not stop voluntarily because a request had been made. This was a legislative obligation, and it could be stopped only by a court order.

Adv Jiba had sought reinstatement to her office, as well as a stay of the Parliamentary process.

The Court had agreed with Parliament that the requested relief by Adv Jiba was not an interim order, as it had a final effect. The application was dismissed with costs.

Mr Njikela said that even though Parliament was anticipating an appeal, there was currently no legal reason stopping Parliament from proceeding with its process. The only thing to consider was whether or not Adv Jiba would receive an additional ten working days to make representations, or if the timeframe would be shortened.

Adv Jiba had stated that she could not afford to make representations as she was currently out of a job. The office of the National Director for Public Prosecutions had offered to fund her so that she could make representations to Parliament. The issue was that the office was funding her legal representation, even though this was not allowed. It was permissible for someone appearing to be assisted by a lawyer when preparing the representation, but the actual person had to make the representation to the Committee, not the lawyer.

Discussion

Mr T Dodovu (ANC, North West Province) said the Committee must find a way to expedite the matter, as it was a matter of national importance. He recommended that Adv Jiba be given 72 hours to make representations.

Mr G Michalakis (DA, Free State) wanted to know the implication of having different timeframes between the Portfolio Committee and the Select Committee.

Mr Njikela advised that it would be best to act uniformly when it came to the amount of time.

Mr A Gxoyiya (ANC, Northern Cape) recommended giving the same amount of time as the Portfolio Committee. He said that the Committee must continue, even if there was an appeal.

Ms Z Ncitha (ANC, Eastern Cape) wanted to know what role would be played by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in assisting Adv Jiba in making an appearance before the Committee. She asked this because Adv Jiba had stated that she did not have the financial means to appear.

Mr Njikela said that the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions had said they would fund her appearance before the Committee. However, the issue was that they were funding her legal representation, even though this was not allowed. It was permissible for a person to get help from a lawyer in drafting the representations, but it would need to be the actual person that made the representations, not the lawyer.

Mr K Motsamai (EFF, Gauteng) said they should allow the legal process to be completed before initiating the Parliamentary process.

Mr Njikela said that there was no legal reason to stop Parliament from initiating its own processes, as they were related to the removal of Adv Jiba from office by the President.

Draft Notice on Firearm Amnesty

In preparation for an upcoming meeting with the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Content Advisor briefed the Committee with regards to a conversation with the Ministry of Police around how the Firearm Amnesty would be implemented.

Amendments to the Hydrographic Bill

In preparation for an upcoming meeting with the Ministry of Defence, the Content Advisor briefed the Committee on the Amendments to the Hydrographic Bill.

Adoption of Minutes

The minutes from the committee meetings on the following dates were adopted:

31 July; 20 August; 4 September; 11 September; 8 October; 9 October; and 18 October.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

 

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