NPA hits back at now-recused chair

2012-08-18 18:19

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has hit back at criticism over its handling of the Glynnis Breytenbach disciplinary hearing.

The NPA was heavily criticised by senior attorney Sandile July on Friday, after he had recused himself as chairperson of the hearing against Breytenbach, a senior anti-corruption prosecutor.

The NPA accused July of being biased in his approach and requested that he be replaced.

July, a director at Werksmans Attorneys, is the second chairperson to withdraw from Breytenbach’s hearing.

The NPA based its application for July’s withdrawal on comments he made during the testimony of Ronald Mendelow, the attorney for mining-firm Imperial Crown Trading (ICT).

ICT, which has links to President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe, complained to the NPA that Breytenbach was not objective in her investigation of a fraud charge against ICT.

ICT was originally awarded a multibillion-rand iron-ore mining right at Sishen in Northern Cape, but the North Gauteng High Court later declared the award invalid.

Breytenbach was part of the team that investigated fraud charges against ICT, laid by its competitor Kumba.

Kumba accused ICT of forging its application for the mining right.

This week the NPA accused July of bias when it emerged his firm, Werksmans, had previously represented ArcelorMittal, which buys iron ore from the Sishen mine, in the ICT matter.

July agreed to retire as chair, but said: “This has nothing do with me being a director at Werksmans.

“It has everything to do with the questions I have asked Mr Mendelow.”

He said Mendelow felt “uncomfortable” about the questions he asked.

“I hope this hearing is not going to be controlled by people who happen to be controlled by the complainants who tell the NPA how to run the hearing,” July said.

Yesterday the NPA said July wouldn’t have recused himself on an application “that is unfounded or baseless”.

The NPA said July’s statement that he believed the application for his recusal was drafted by Mendelow, was “wild”, “unsubstantiated” and “devoid of any truth”.

July’s “vitriolic attack of Mendelow” proved his bias against the witness, the NPA said.

A new chair will soon be appointed and the hearing would not start afresh, the NPA said.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.