NPA’S ROLE IN SA’S IMPUNITY CRISIS
Just 9% of people think leaders in the public sector are ethical. With Shaun Abrahams’ NPA sitting on its hands, it’s no great wonder why
If you’re looking to get a deeper understanding of why nobody linked to the #Guptaleaks, Eskom or state capture has even so much as been asked to post bail, Glynnis Breytenbach’s new book, Rule of Law, provides acute insight.
Until she was harassed out of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the formidable Breytenbach was its toughest nut. She’d worked on cases such as the arms deal, the Barry Tannenbaum Ponzi scheme, the Imperial Crown Trading fraud at Sishen and the prosecution of crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli.
Breytenbach knows where the NPA’S warts are located. This is what makes her book such a hairraising roller coaster ride down the winding corridors of the NPA’S Silverton office, through the depressing valleys of political meddling in prosecutions, and all the way through to the rise of impunity in SA society.
She recounts how the NPA’S undoing can be traced back to the arms deal. She points to the awful advice NPA boss Bulelani Ngcuka got in 2002, which led to him charging Schabir Shaik but not then deputy president Jacob Zuma, even though Ngcuka said there was a “prima facie case of corruption against [Zuma]”.
She writes: “It became increasingly obvious that there was serious political interference . . . for older prosecutors, it signalled the beginning of something we knew would get worse. We didn’t know how to stop it.”
The encroaching claustrophobia deepened when former president Thabo Mbeki axed Ngcuka’s successor, Vusi Pikoli, for daring to charge disgraced police boss Jackie Selebi for fraud. And the skies darkened further when Pikoli’s replacement, Moketedi Mpshe,
Abrahams’ elevation was like ‘taking a child who has just learnt to ride a bicycle with training wheels and giving him a jumbo jet’