Where’s the context?

2013-04-28 14:00

There were several flaws in last week’s report on the NPA

Your assertions on the front page last week (City Press, April 21) cannot go unchallenged.

You somehow attribute the financial crisis the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) found itself in late last year to Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba.

The flaw is that, without the proper context, you are attributing the misfortunes of the NPA last year to her “tumultuous stint”.

The NPA is not “in effect, bankrupt”. It has paid all salaries without fail; and, on average, pays 92.4% of its creditors within 30?days. A bankrupt organisation would not have been able to do so.

In addition, the organisation did not even have to get any bailouts from either the department of justice or the Treasury.

The financial crisis of the last financial year was caused by a build-up from the following factors:

»?A court judgment that compelled the NPA to pay a large number of employees back pay of more than 10 months;

»?Occupational-specific dispensation was implemented during 2010/11, but the carry-through costs, due to the expansion of the salary bands and ceilings, were higher than anticipated; and

»?Budget allocations of the notches, in respect of performance awards, increased from 1% to 1.5%, which created a cumulative shortfall of R78?million.

These are historical matters with their origins long before Jiba held the acting position at the helm.

Under her leadership, the hard, but correct, decisions were made to put corrective measures in place, on time. If this had not happened, the NPA would not have been able to meet the wage bill to ensure salaries were paid.

The national director of public prosecutions is also not the NPA’s accounting officer. Financial accounting for the organisation is the responsibility of the director-general of justice, who has delegated her duties to the CEO of the NPA.

To report on the financial crisis the way you did denies all this context and suggests something sinister about Jiba’s leadership.

With respect to Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, you refer to her suspension in support of your odd observation that Jiba has had a

tumultuous stint.

The one challenge that could have added strength to your accusation – from Breytenbach’s claim that her suspension was unlawful – was dismissed by the bargaining council. Perhaps this did not fit in conveniently with your narrative?

The disciplinary-hearing process has not yet concluded and has not made findings on whether there is veracity to her accusation that her suspension was to protect Richard Mdluli from prosecution.

Bulelwa Makeke

NPA executive manager of communications, Pretoria

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