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Sat Nov 01 00:52:10 SAST 2014

'Ludicrous' and 'absurd', say lawyers

GRAEME HOSKEN | 29 January, 2013 01:01
Glynnis Breytenbach leaves court. File photo.
Image by: LAUREN MULLIGAN

Lawyers for suspended NPA commercial crimes prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach yesterday fought to keep her from testifying before an arbitration commission.

Breytenbach, who was suspended last year, was appearing before the General Public Service Sector Bargaining Council, in Pretoria, in an attempt to get her job back.

Last year, the Johannesburg Labour Court said that she should contest her suspension before an arbitration commission.

The National Prosecuting Authority claims Breytenbach was suspended for mishandling a mineral rights case involving Imperial Crown Trading and Kumba Iron Ore , but she believes that she was suspended for attempting to prosecute former police crime intelligence chief Lieutenant-General Richard Mdluli.

Mdluli is fighting his own suspension following accusations that he stole funds from the crime intelligence unit's slush fund.

Breytenbach's lawyer, Andrew Redding, told bargaining council commissioner Mashoro Motlala that his client's suspension was "unjustifiable".

Redding said the NPA claimed it suspended Breytenbach to prevent her from interfering with its investigation.

"This is ludicrous. How is [her interference] possible when [the NPA's investigation] is finished?" Redding asked.

Redding said Breytenbach had been deliberately thwarted in her attempts to have her suspension overturned.

"Not once has the NPA been forthcoming in its reasoning.

"Even when it came to trying to establish the reasons behind the suspension, the acting national director of public prosecutions was not forthcoming.

"Only when Breytenbach began asking questions about Mdluli and the decisions to drop his charges, was she suddenly provided with the information and even then not all of it."

Arguing that Breytenbach should testify "after dragging us all the way here", the NPA's advocate, William Mokhari, said it was absurd that she did not want to take the stand.

"She has made damning allegations of ulterior motives, now she must answer to them.

"How can you resolve such a case without cross-examining someone on the allegations?

"What is clear is that here is an employee deliberately trying to stop the case from moving forward," he said.

Redding hit back and said it was not that Breytenbach did not want to testify "but we advised her otherwise ... she does not need to lead evidence".

The hearing was adjourned to March.

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