Murray Williams and SAPA
A top criminal prosecutor has made dramatic allegations about a sustained campaign of intimidation, reporting that she had been shot at, followed and almost driven off the road in the past three weeks.
The National Prosecuting Authority’s corruption prosecutor, Glynnis Breytenbach, who was issued with a letter of suspension yesterday, told the Cape Argus that two shots had been fired at her car on April 11 as she was driving home.
The bullets had missed, she said.
Last Wednesday, she alleged, two motorcyclists had tried to force her off the road when she was returning home after exercising. She said she had been saved by the appearance of a metro police vehicle, which had scared off the motorcyclists.
She confirmed to the Cape Argus a report on City Press’s website in which she claimed she was still being followed.
In a brief interview last night, she confirmed that she had reported the incident to a member of the Hawks, but refused to be intimidated.
Breytenbach heads the NPA’s specialised commercial crimes unit in Pretoria.
She was reportedly responsible for the NPA’s investigation into the arms deal and reportedly fought against dropping fraud charges against crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
DA police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard said: “If her life is in danger, then she should be given immediate protection and bodyguards around the clock, paid for by the state.
“It’s outrageous and must be stopped in its tracks. You simply cannot have crude, systematic thuggery being used to attempt to influence judicial outcomes.”
Debbie Schafer, DA shadow minister of justice and constitutional development, said: “It’s outrageous, sinister and very concerning for SA’s judical system as a whole.”
She said her colleague DA MP Dene Smuts had received a personal denial that there was any campaign against Breytenbach but that she would now be pursuing the matter urgently.
Smuts said earlier on hearing of Breytenbach’s suspension: “The suspension has been widely interpreted as intimidation of a prosecutor who insists on doing her work without fear or favour and who resisted the dropping of fraud charges against crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.”
Breytenbach was issued with a notice of intention to suspend her in February.
Smuts said the DA had asked acting National Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Nomgcobo Jiba, during a justice portfolio committee meeting on April 17, if the threat of suspension was an attempt to intimidate Breytenbach and if she had been told to drop the charges.
Jiba told the committee that there had never been any instructions or any political pressure.
NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said yesterday the charges against Breytenbach related to her conduct in handling one of her cases.
“We will exercise restraint in commenting on this matter in view of legal implications in labour issues.”
He said all the charges would be dealt with in a disciplinary hearing.
Mhaga said there was no link between Breytenbach’s suspension and Mdluli.