Glynnis Breytenbach. Picture: THE TIMES
Glynnis Breytenbach. Picture: THE TIMES

DA MP Glynnis Breytenbach says she pulled out of the race for the position of National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) as this was in the best interests of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Interviews for the position commenced in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Breytenbach was part of the initial list of 12 candidates that was shortlisted by a panel assisting President Cyril Ramaphosa with the appointment process. She served as prosecutor for the NPA before joining the DA in 2014.

“The national director should be someone who is independent and will prosecute without favour or prejudice and do away with the toxic politicisation that has taken place there [NPA],” Breytenbach said during a news conference in parliament with DA leader Mmusi Maimane. 

“I have no doubt that I can do that [lead the NPA]. However, having given the matter a lot of thought I cannot escape the perception that I am a politician, and I will bring that perception into that role if I am appointed. I do not believe that is in the best interests of the NPA. This is not about individuals; it’s about a vital state institution. Having seen that there other competent people on the list, it made it much easier to withdraw,” she said.  

She backed three candidates for the position: Shamila Batohi, who has been a senior legal adviser to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court; Western Cape director of public prosecutions Rodney de Kock; and Siyabulela Mapoma, who is an advocate with the Bhisho Bar.

The NPA has been bedeviled by a leadership and credibility crisis, with no NDPP has served a full 10-year term since the NPA’s formation, with all of them leaving under a cloud.

Maimane said the politicisation of the NDPP and the NPA was not just “an aberration of the [Jacob] Zuma presidency”.

“It started under the Mbeki presidency, and is simply the natural consequence of the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment, which has as its explicit goal the capture of the state’s levers of power in order to concentrate power in the party.

“This policy of cadre deployment has demoralised professional civil servants who are judged not on the quality of their work, but on their connections and loyalty to the party. It has severely undermined the professionalism of the civil service and has allowed the vast network of corrupt cadres to entrench themselves in every department and state owned entity.

‘‘We have seen the pernicious effect of this cadre deployment at the SA Revenue Service, at Eskom, at SAA, at Denel, in the SA Police Service and, indeed, at the NPA,” Maimane. said.

He said if the public's faith in the NPA is to be rebuilt, Ramaphosa must appoint someone who is seen to be totally above party politics.

“It is not enough to know that the person will act independently. They must also be seen to be independent. And it is this factor which has led to the decision that advocate Breytenbach has made.”

phakathib@businesslive.co.za