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A challenge by prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach against her suspension from the National Prosecuting Authority failed yesterday.
Johannesburg Labour Court Judge Hamilton Cele dismissed the application and said no costs were ordered.
“The applicant has not shown the existence of any extraordinary or compelling urgent circumstances to justify a final declaration of the unlawfulness of her suspension,” Judge Cele said in his judgment.
“There are reasonable prospects that if the disciplinary hearing against her is persisted with, it will be finalised within a reasonable time period. If not, she may refer an unfair labour practice.”
Judge Cele said such disputes needed to be referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration or to the bargaining council. However, the judge said that if the NPA did exercise its right to discipline Breytenbach, it could be found to be “flouting and frustrating” the aims of an investigation ordered by the High Court in Pretoria into the suspension of former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
“It has been shown in these proceedings that the applicant will probably be a vital official in that probe,” said the judge. “If she is found guilty and dismissed, she will be handicapped from utilising the tools of the trade that she might need in these investigations. The justice sought to be striven for in the matter… would have been seriously compromised.”
Breytenbach was suspended as regional head of the specialised commercial crime unit on April 30 for alleged conduct relating to cases allocated to her.
NPA spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga told reporters she was still regarded as an employee. “We have a disciplinary hearing. The hearing might exonerate her, or find her guilty, but we have to allow that process to unfold,” he said. – Sapa