A meeting with Parliament’s justice committee and NPA head Shaun Abrahams got off to a shaky start on Wednesday, when he objected to Democratic Alliance MP Glynnis Breytenbach’s presence.
The NPA was briefing the committee on their annual report, when Abrahams raised concerns about Breytenbach’s presence in the committee and Parliament.
He was astonished that she was part of the meeting, he said.
“She is currently an accused person in a criminal matter that is at an advanced stage. I am not sure it is right for someone who is an accused person to be here,” he said.
The matter was not raised during the process to appoint a new public protector, Abrahams continued, which was equally concerning.
“I’d like to raise an objection to her presence here. I don’t know how the committee deals with such cases,” he said.
But Breytenbach was equally astonished by Abrahams mentioning the case, she said, as it was “sub judice”.
“I am not going anywhere. One is innocent until proven guilty,” she said.
Committee chairperson Mathole Motshekga said it was up to Breytenbach’s “God given” conscience to decide if she would stay at the meeting or not.
“Don’t you think your participation will make your contributions suspect and not add value to the committee,” Motshekga asked the DA MP.
“Don’t go there,” Breytenbach retorted, before reiterating her intention to stay put, leaning back in her chair.
ANC MP Bongani Bongo said if Breytenbach’s conscience allowed her to stay, then she should be allowed.
African Christian Democratic Party MP Steve Swart defended Breytenbach, and said she was an honourable member of Parliament and must participate in the processes “until otherwise decided”.
The committee would seek advice from Parliament’s legal team for future reference, it was decided on Wednesday.
Breytenbach and her former lawyer, Gerhard Wagenaar, are on trial on four charges of contravening the National Prosecuting Authority Act, and two of defeating the ends of justice. Breytenbach faces two additional charges of fraud and perjury.
The NPA claimed that, in 2012, Breytenbach shred papers and wiped clean her laptop while she was still the head of the organisation’s specialised commercial crimes unit in Pretoria, in violation of the NPA Act. – News24