Breytenbach hearing 'taking too long'

2012-08-16 14:04
Glynnis Breytenbach (File, Beeld)

Glynnis Breytenbach (File, Beeld)

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Pretoria - Lawyers tussled over the slow pace of arguments at Glynnis Breytenbach's disciplinary inquiry in Pretoria on Thursday.

"The inquiry is taking longer than it should," Breytenbach's counsel Wim Trengove said.

He said lawyers for the National Prosecuting Authority needed to explain the relevance of testimony being given by Ronald Mendelow, the lawyer for Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).

Mendelow was testifying for the third day, in great detail, about the complex background to a dispute between ICT and Sishen/Kumba Iron Ore over mineral rights.

The NPA said it suspended Breytenbach for failing to act impartially in her investigation of the dispute.

NPA counsel William Makhari objected to Trengove's complaint, saying they must "not be hurried".

"I submit that it is not proper for one party to dictate to the other how to run its defence." He said he was laying the basis for the charges of improper conduct, and the NPA was entitled to deal with allegations made by Breytenbach.

"She made certain defences, so we are here to deal with them thoroughly. At the end of the day, we want to dispel this notion that was pandered [sic] around that she was charged because she was persecuted," Makhari said.

Application to remove chairperson 

Breytenbach was suspended as regional head of the NPA's specialised commercial crime unit on 30 April this year.

She has argued that acting national director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, suspended her in an attempt to stop her from prosecuting former police crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli on fraud and other charges.

Earlier, Makhari said the NPA would apply on Friday for the removal of the inquiry's chairperson Sandile July.

"There will be an application that will be brought for the appointment of a new chairperson."

He did not say why the NPA wanted July removed on the ninth day of the hearing. Trengove said they would oppose the application.

July was appointed as chairperson after Barry Madolo recused himself. Madolo had granted permission for access to the hearing by the print media. The NPA later said he had no authority to make the decision.

The North Gauteng High Court later ruled that the media be allowed to attend the hearing.

Mendelow continued giving evidence at the NPA offices in Silverton about alleged contradictions made by Breytenbach regarding the ICT/Sishen case.

The hearing continues.
- SAPA
Read more on:    npa  |  glynnis breytenbach
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