Breytenbach's new job 'not the same'

2013-07-02 18:45
Glynnis Breytenbach (Picture: Sapa)

Glynnis Breytenbach (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach's new job is not the same as the one she had before her suspension, the Labour Court in Johannesburg heard on Tuesday.

"The position to which she has been transferred is in no way the equivalent of the position she used to hold," said Breytenbach’s counsel Advocate Andrew Ridding.

Ridding described the conduct of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) since Breytenbach’s suspension as "unusual".

"What began as an investigation into her conduct blew up into... a federal case against her."

From the day the NPA levelled allegations against Breytenbach, the prosecuting authority had done all it could to prevent her returning to her position.

Ridding argued that the NPA still considered Breytenbach suspended.

This, he said, was based on letters between her lawyer and the NPA after Breytenbach was cleared of all 15 charges against her during a disciplinary hearing.

The NPA wanted to place Breytenbach on special leave pending the review of the disciplinary findings.

At a meeting when Breytenbach returned to work, she was told there were allegations of misconduct against her.

However, she was not given details as to how far the investigations had gone.

"What the NPA is doing... it is doing all it can do to prevent Miss Breytenbach from getting her hands on the docket of... [Richard] Mdluli," Ridding said.

Breytenbach is making an urgent application to get her old job back as regional head of the NPA's specialised commercial crime unit in Pretoria.

Suspension, charges

In April last year, Breytenbach was suspended and later faced a lengthy disciplinary hearing on 15 charges.

These included that she had not acted impartially when investigating a mining rights dispute involving Kumba Iron Ore, Kumba's Sishen mine in the Northern Cape, and Imperial Crown Trading.

She was accused of "improper relations" with Sishen's lawyer Mike Hellens.

On 27 May, a NPA disciplinary hearing cleared her of all charges.

The following day, the NPA announced it would bring a court challenge against the ruling because it considered the findings "factually incorrect and legally unsustainable".

Breytenbach was allowed to return to work, but after her return she found the NPA intended sending her to a different office.

She claimed that her suspension was related to her opposition to a decision to withdraw fraud and corruption charges against former police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

Earlier, Ridding said the NPA had violated Breytenbach's constitutional and labour rights.

The NPA had acted outside the law by not reinstating Breytenbach to her position, he said.

"It is a constitutional violation. It is a breach of constitutional imperative. Secondly, it is a breach of her employment contract. By transferring her to a position which is not the same as the one she held before, her contract of employment has been breached."

It was clear the NPA had not restored Breytenbach to her job to keep her from dealing with a particular case, he said.

Read more on:    npa  |  glynnis breytenbach  |  johannesburg

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