Fears for prosecutor’s safety

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may 2 McIntosh Polela

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Hawks spokesman Colonel McIntosh Polela confirmed that Glynnis Breytenbach reported the shooting immediately after it took place.

The National Prosecuting Authority was looking into ways to assist suspended prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach after her car was reportedly shot at, the NPA said on Tuesday.

“We are concerned about her life being at risk, but also worried that the matter was never reported to our security and risk unit because she is still an NPA employee, although on suspension,” spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said. “We’ll follow up the matter with the relevant unit to see how best to assist her.”

Breytenbach confirmed to the Cape Argus on Monday that her car was shot at two weeks ago while she was driving home from work.

Breytenbach, regional head of the NPA in Gauteng’s specialised commercial crime unit, said she was shot at on April 11 on the N14 highway near an offramp. She was on her way to her home in Centurion.

Two BMW motorcycles also reportedly tried to force her off the road while she was on her way to the gym last Wednesday.

She reported both incidents to the Hawks. The Hawks’ spokesman Colonel McIntosh Polela confirmed Breytenbach reported the shooting immediately after it took place.

She also spoke to one of the specialised crime unit’s investigators the next day.

 

Breytenbach was issued with a letter of suspension on Monday with the NPA saying the charges “relate to her conduct in handling one of the cases allocated to her”.

Breytenbach’s lawyer, Gerhard Wagenaar, said the reason given by the NPA for her suspension was that she had allegedly abused her powers in the Kumba/Imperial Crown Trading (ICT) case.

She was prosecutor in the case, which concerned the award of mining rights at Sishen to politically-connected Imperial Crown Trading (ICT). Kumba later laid a charge of fraud against ICT.

Wagenaar said Breytenbach denied the charge. Her legal team would consider all the options and decide by the end of Wednesday whether to legally challenge her suspension.

DA MP Dene Smuts said important questions relating to Breytenbach’s suspension remained unanswered.

“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,” Smuts said.

She said acting national prosecutions chief Nomgcobo Jiba had undertaken to provide a sequence of events as they had unfolded.

This, and the outcome of any challenge Breytenbach might mount against her suspension would “hopefully bring clarity in a matter that potentially has the gravest conceivable consequences for the administration of justice,” Smuts said.

The NPA has denied any links between Breytenbach’s suspension and her involvement in Mdluli’s case.

Sapa and Political Bureau


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