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

Financial Mail - - EDITOR’S NOTE BY ROB ROSE - @ro­brose_za

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’

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