NPA asks for new ruling on Breytenbach

2013-05-29 00:00

DESPITE having earlier made a declaration under oath that she would accept any verdict on the disciplinary charges against advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, the acting head of the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) now wants the “not-guilty” ruling reviewed.

Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba had earlier told the labour court in Johannesburg that if Breytenbach was found not guilty in her disciplinary hearing, it would be the end of the matter and she “would be allowed to resume her duties in the capacity in which she has been employed”. But yesterday the NPA announced that it will review the decision by advocate Selby Mbenenge, who on Monday found Breytenbach not guilty of all 15 charges brought against her by the NPA.

NPA spokesperson Nomilo Mpondo said the NPA had decided to take this to another court for a review. “At the moment, we are busy preparing our heads of argument.

“The court will be asked to review and set aside the findings and replace them with a finding of guilty against Ms Breytenbach. In these circumstances, the court process should be … allowed to take its course,” Mpondo said.

Mpondo said while the NPA “respects” Mbenenge’s ruling in the disciplinary enquiry, his findings were “factually incorrect and legally unsustainable”. It added Mbenenge’s ruling would elevate insubordination, disobedience and unethical conduct among prosecutors.

Breytenbach’s lawyer, Gerhard Wagenaar, said his client did not understand why the NPA would want to go this route. He said Breytenbach was ready to start working again as head of the Gauteng commercial crimes unit despite the NPA’s announcement.

Wagenaar has sent a letter, asking the NPA to indicate during the course of today when Breytenbach can resume her job. Should the NPA refuse, Breytenbach will ask the labour court to order the NPA to allow her to work.

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) earlier called on the NPA to allow Breytenbach to return to work.

It also asked that the people responsible for the spurious charges against Breytenbach be held to account.

Breytenbach meanwhile fetched flowers that were delivered for her at the NPA office in Visagie Street yesterday. The ace prosecutor believes she was suspended from the NPA in April 2012 to stop her from prosecuting Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli. The NPA said she was charged because of her handling of a mining rights case. In her declaration under oath at the labour court, Breytenbach said her employer had prevented her from continuing with the prosecution of Mdluli for a year.

Advocate Jan Henning SC, former deputy head of the NPA, said history was repeating itself, as the NPA had also fired its former boss, advocate Vusi Pikoli, for prosecuting former police commissioner Jackie Selebi. He said he hoped prosecutors follow her example rather than that of their employer.

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