NPA invites Breytenbach to discuss her return to work

The invitation followed a letter to the state attorney on Tuesday from Breytenbach's lawyer Gerhard Wagenaar in which he said his client was "eager to return to work".

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) lost its case to get rid of Breytenbach on Monday, when the presiding chair in her disciplinary hearing advocate Selby Mbenenge ruled that he could not find her guilty on the 15 charges brought against her by the NPA. 

Mbenenge, the third chair appointed by the prosecuting authority, ruled that the NPA had not "proven the guilt of the employee" in any of the "plethora of charges".

However, Breytenbach's keenness to go back to work following her acquittal received a blow when, on Tuesday, the NPA released a statement saying that it was going to seek a review of Mbenenge's findings through the Labour Court. The NPA said it would ask the Labour Court "to set aside the findings and replace them with a finding of guilty against Ms Breytenabch".

Commenting to the Mail & Guardian on the NPA's invitation to meet and hold discussions, Wagenaar said on Thursday afternoon that while they have indicated that they are "prepared to discuss her [Breytenbach's] return to work" with the NPA, he noted: "but we don't regard [the discussions] as a condition for her to return to work."

Mbenenge's findings were 'incorrect'
The NPA's statement following Breytenbach's victory, claimed that the findings have serious implications on the enforcement of discipline in the NPA. It added that Mbenenge's findings were "factually incorrect and legally unsustainable".

The NPA's persistence in finding Breytenbach guilty flies in the face of a statement made by acting NPA head Nomgcobo Jiba in an answering affidavit in the Labour Court last year, where she said that if Breytenbach "is found not guilty it will be the end of the matter".

Wagenaar alluded to Jiba's statement in his letter to the state attorney. He said: "Our client has been unable to work for more than a year now and will as such need to be apprised of the progress that has been made in her matters during her absence. She will make the necessary arrangements in this regard." It is believed the discussions will take place on Friday.

In the Mail & Guardian on Friday May 24 2013 we analyse the reasons behind the NPA's blitz against Breytenbach and why they won't back down.

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The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this story. All views are ours. See for our stories, activities and funding sources.

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Sally Evans
Guest Author

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