NPA defends silence on prosecutor saga
Johannesburg - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has defended its "mute responses" to enquiries on the possible suspension of prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach.
It said this was in line with the agency's internal disciplinary processes.
"Central to that process is the provision that an internal disciplinary process is a matter between the employer and the employee," NPA spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said.
"The details pertaining to that disciplinary matter are to be treated with confidentiality."
The NPA said last week that it had notified Breytenbach that she would have to submit by Tuesday reasons why she should not be suspended. It did not explain why it had done so.
Makeke said the NPA's disciplinary policy was in line with the Public Service Bargaining Council's resolution one of 2003 and chapter seven of the "SMS Handbook" for senior management.
It also did not want to risk litigation and wasting taxpayers' money by breaching any processes.
She said that in the disciplinary process, where the employer considered suspension, it gave notice to suspend by outlining the matter of concern, granting the employee an opportunity to respond within a certain time.
The employer then considered the employee's response and made a decision.
"This actually is where the process is with Advocate Breytenbach and her response to the employer is awaited imminently. So even the contention that she has been suspended is inaccurate," said Makeke.
She said it caused unfair and undue pressure on both parties when details of proceedings "irregularly find their way to the media".
"It is therefore important to understand that the organisation's mute responses to the current speculation in the media are in the context of the NPA's internal disciplinary procedures as briefly outlined above."
According to unconfirmed reports, Breytenbach is accused of abusing her power in the investigation into a fraud charge laid by iron ore mining company Kumba against Imperial Crown Trading, and of not following orders to stop the investigation.
The NPA has denied a link between the possible suspension of Breytenbach, who is deputy director of the specialised commercial crimes unit in Gauteng, and the dropping of charges against suspended crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli, which was also announced last week.