Prosecutor’s hearing open to media

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Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach at the labour court in Braamfontein to fight her suspension, which she says came about after her investigation of Richard Mdluli. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg -

The disciplinary hearing of suspended National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach will be open to the media when it resumes in July, her lawyer said on Friday.

“It will be open,” said Gerhard Wagenaar.

Restrictions would be put in place if confidential matters arose during proceedings, expected to be held on July 23, he said.

NPA head of communications Bulelwa Makeka confirmed that advocate Barry Madolo made the ruling on Friday.

However, the NPA was going to take legal advice from the State Attorney to see whether they could challenge this decision, and if so, how it should be challenged - within the forum of the disciplinary hearing, or in a court.

“You must understand that this has never happened before,” she said.

The decision follows an application by publisher Media24, who believe the hearing should be open to the media in the public interest.

Breytenbach was suspended on April 30 for conduct related to cases allocated to her.

She has submitted in papers before the Labour Court that she was suspended as regional head of the specialised commercial crime unit because she insisted on investigating fraud and corruption charges against former police intelligence head, Lt-Gen Richard Mdluli.

The first sitting of her disciplinary on June 19 was taken up with submissions on whether the hearing should be open or closed.

City Press assistant editor Adriaan Basson said at the time that both matters were of interest to the public, and if what she alleged was true it was a “very serious indictment” of the NPA.

City Press is a Media24 title with an interest in politics.

But if the NPA was correct in its case against her, it was also a serious matter, said Basson.

Breytenbach had not opposed the presence of the media but advocate William Mokhari, for the NPA, had argued there could never be a provision that internal disciplinary matters should be open.

The Breytenbach and Mdluli cases were in the Labour Court this week, with challenges to their suspensions.

Judgment in Mdluli's cases was stayed, and in Breytenbach's it was reserved. - Sapa


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