Breytenbach to know fate soon

2013-03-08 13:24

Senior prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach would know if she will be allowed to return to work in two weeks’ time.

Lawyers representing Breytenbach and the NPA today made closing arguments in Breytenbach’s arbitration challenge of her suspension before the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council in Centurion.

Advocate Andrew Redding, appearing for Breytenbach, has argued that the NPA has not managed to produce any evidence that Breytenbach was suspended to prevent her from interfering in the investigation against her.

Instead, Redding said, Breytenbach’s suspension was used by the NPA “to punish her, to remove her from the workplace and to silence and marginalise her without any regard for her rights as an employee”.

According to NPA guidelines, an employee may only be suspended if they are accused of a serious offence and if there is a reasonable belief that they would interfere in the investigation or endanger other employees.

Pointing to the fact that Breytenbach’s disciplinary hearing had concluded hearing testimony from all witnesses, Redding said it was “inconceivable” that she could still interfere in the investigation.

“Is she going to go to the disciplinary hearing’s chairman’s house in the Eastern Cape and intimidate him?” asked Redding.

But William Mokhari, arguing on behalf of the NPA, said Breytenbach was attempting to avoid being cross-examined on the reasonable beliefs the NPA had for suspending her.

“Had the employee chosen to testify we would have demonstrated through her testimony that her suspension was reasonable,” he said.

Mokhari said the test for the NPA to satisfy was “not even at the level of a balance of probability, not even at the level of prima facie, it’s the lowest test ever”.

Mokhari said Breytenbach was a senior employee who could easily access information which might be relevant to her case. He said these objective facts had been taken into account in coming to a decision to suspend Breytenbach.

He also said that Breytenbach’s disciplinary would not be concluded until a finding had been made later this year.

Breytenbach’s legal team have relied only on evidence which they say were admitted in affidavits before the Labour Court last year.

Arbitrator Mashoro Matlala will decide whether Breytenbach’s suspension will be lifted on March 22.

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