Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Wednesday said its spokeswoman on justice, MP Glynnis Breytenbach, withdrew from the shortlist of candidates for national director of public prosecutions because the party believed the job should go to someone removed from party politics.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the position, and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) itself, had become tarnished by political meddling.
"Successive national directors have used the position to influence politics, pursue factional battles, suppress certain prosecutions and unduly pursue others. In so doing, they have defeated the ends of justice and have undermined that sacred cornerstone of constitutional democracy, equality before the law," Maimane said.
"The actions of these directors have over time cemented in the public mind the perception that the justice system can be easily abused by the politically powerful and connected, and that the NPA answers to political masters, rather than making the corrupt answer to the law. Indeed, it was exactly this kind of abuse that led to Adv Breytenbach leaving the NPA and joining the Democratic Alliance."
Breytenbach was a public prosecutor for a quarter of a century but left the NPA and joined the DA in 2014 after she was cleared of 14 disciplinary charges. Breytenbach maintained that these were instituted to spare former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli prosecution.