Civil rights union AfriForum denies it is “playing politics” after announcing its new bid to privately prosecute former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) deputy national director advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, seen as a member of President Jacob Zuma’s inner circle.
The union’s private prosecuting unit, headed by Gerrie Nel‚ said yesterday it would apply for a nolle prosequi (dismissal of charges) certificate from the NPA on behalf of former head of the Hawks in KwaZulu-Natal, Major-General Johan Booysen, in order to proceed.
NPA head Shaun Abrahams has not prosecuted her despite an NPA legal opinion in favour of this course of action.
As deputy national director, Jiba charged Booysen with racketeering in 2012 after he was accused of running a murder gang in KZN.
In 2014, KZN High Court Judge Trevor Gorven set aside the charge, finding there was no evidence to back Jiba’s allegations, offending legal principles (fundamental rules of law) and, therefore, it was illegal and unconstitutional.
AfriForum said Booysen was targeted for investigating the business operations of Thoshan Panday, who has close ties to the Zuma family. Jiba was then charged with perjury and fraud in 2015 after appearing in the Pretoria Regional Court.
But NPA head Shaun Abrahams withdrew the case. In 2016, Jiba was disbarred from the Roll of Advocates after three adverse findings against her by different courts.
“The NPA have aggravated their constitutional mandate by withdrawing charges against Jiba and that is why I want to privately prosecute,” Booysen said.
Jiba is mentioned in Jacques Pauw’s book, The President’s Keepers, as one of the those allegedly in Zuma’s inner circle.
AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said: “Just because Jiba is in Zuma’s inner circle doesn’t mean she is above the law. AfriForum will help ensure justice prevails through private prosecution, including Zuma and his inner circle.”
Last month, Nel revealed he was pursuing private prosecution of Zuma’s son, Duduzane, who crashed his Porche into a taxi in 2014, killing a commuter.
Despite public criticism that AfriForum was “playing politics”, Kriel denied this, saying: “We did not decide on our own to prosecute Duduzane Zuma or Jiba. There are political links in the NPA and that is why they decided not to prosecute both of them, irrespective of prima facie facts against them. Yes, there is politics, not from our side, but from the people that protect Zuma.”