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08 Jun 2012 00:01
Breytenbach's allegation forms part of a challenge to her suspension lodged a week ago with the Labour Court in Johannesburg. (M&G)
Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach has launched a devastating attack on the acting national director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, accusing her of acting with “an ulterior purpose” in suspending her, allegedly to stop the prosecution of crime intelligence supremo Richard Mdluli.Breytenbach’s allegation forms part of a challenge to her suspension lodged a week ago with the Labour Court in Johannesburg.Breytenbach was suspended by Jiba on April 30 this year, purportedly in relation to a complaint about her conduct in the prosecution of Imperial Crown Trading (ICT), the company accused of fraud and forgery in its battle to secure mineral rights over the giant Sishen iron ore mine.“Her [Jiba’s] real purpose was to stop me from prosecuting a senior police officer, Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli, on charges of fraud and corruption,” said Breytenbach. “She used the ICT complaint against me as an excuse to suspend me.”The National Prosecuting Authority has denied that the disciplinary steps against Breytenbach have anything to do with the Mdluli matter.Public scrutinyBreytenbach’s court papers deliver an indictment of the prosecuting authority’s two key decision-makers in the Mdluli matter – Jiba and advocate Lawrence Mrwebi – both appointees of President Jacob Zuma.Breytenbach’s application signals that judicial and public scrutiny of the Mdluli scandal will expand to the prosecuting authority, notably through allegations of improper decisions by Mrwebi, supported by Jiba, to withdraw charges against Mdluli.It comes in the week North Gauteng High Court Judge Ephraim Makgoba delivered a hammer blow to attempts to politically manage the police side of the Mdluli investigation.
Makgoba granted an urgent application by lobby group Freedom Under Law for Mdluli to be interdicted from carrying out any functions as a police officer.Mdluli will be barred from office pending a full judicial review of the various decisions to abandon corruption and murder charges against him, to terminate internal police disciplinary steps against him and to reinstate him as head of crime intelligence. Now Breytenbach’s application has added fuel to Freedom Under Law’s fire by providing a detailed account of the way in which Mrwebi and Jiba appeared to bend over backwards to protect Mdluli.The Breytenbach documents reveal that:
Mrwebi wrote: “Having been provided with further information on the matter and having been privy to other classified, confidential and high-level discussions with police management, I am concerned that our actions in the matter may be interpreted, justifiably, as amounting to serious abuse of the legal process and as being motivated by ulterior purposes. It is my considered view that it will therefore not be in the interests of justice for the NPA to be further involved in this matter.”Concluding that her suspension is unlawful, Breytenbach stated: “I submit that the ineluctable inference from the history of my suspension … is that its purpose is to remove me from office and so prevent me from proceeding with the prosecution of General Mdluli.” The authority will oppose her application, but has yet to file its response.The two interlinked cases – Freedom Under Law’s high court review and Breytenbach’s labour court challenge – threaten to expose direct political meddling in decisions about Mdluli. Government may attempt to manage the fallout by appointing a new national commissioner and has already launched a ministerial task team in an apparent attempt to bolster Mdluli’s conspiracy claims, but the Mdluli tsunami seems unstoppable. The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for our stories, activities and funding sources.
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