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GORDHAN2The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will tell all who care to hear, that the body is independent, impartial and that the body acts without fear or favour. It follows then, that after the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has been charged with fraud – albeit with debatable merits of the case – that criminal charges too, should be laid against various individuals whose business ventures appear to have transgressed numerous South African laws.

An affidavit deposed to by the Finance Minister suggests that the Department of Mineral Resources was not entirely truthful in its approval of the transfer of R1.5 billion from a trust account to a bank in India. The affidavit is in support of an application for a Declaratory Order asking the Court to declare that as the Minister of Finance, he did not have the authority to intervene with the Banks’ decision to close business accounts associated with the Gupta family. The sum of R1.5 billion was meant to rehabilitate Optimum Coal Mine which is owned by the Gupta family – the subject of a Public Protector investigation into allegations of state capture.

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npaIt is a convoluted affair and – where sense can be made of it – suggests an organisation mired in skulduggery and maladministration. That since its inception the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is yet to have a head successfully complete a full term without either resigning or being forced to leave the position, is one of the telling signs.

The latest blight to the prosecuting body is the recent decision by the North Gauteng High Court (the Court) in which the General Council of the Bar sought, successfully, to have Nomgcobo Jiba (Jiba) and Lawrence Mrwebi (Mrwebi) struck off the Roll of Advocates. In the judgment, the Court made damning findings against the two. It is of great concern that the following was said of individuals at the helm of the nation’s crime fighting organisation: “I cannot believe that two officers of the court (advocates) who hold such high positions in the prosecuting authority will stoop so low for the protection and defence of one individual who had been implicated in the serious offences.

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CASAC logoThe Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR) welcomes and supports the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution’s (CASAC) and others’ call for the appointment of a qualified, fit and proper National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP). In this regard, we noted a decision by the Constitutional Court to reject CASAC’s application regarding the appointment of a permanent NDPP to be heard as an urgent matter and believe that the Court’s decision in no way reflects on the importance of the matter.

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Glynnis Breytenbach The Centre for Constitutional Rights (CFCR) welcomes the ruling by a National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) disciplinary hearing which cleared senior prosecutor, Adv Glynnis Breytenbach, of any wrongdoing.

In handing down his ruling in relation to charges brought against Breytenbach by the NPA, the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing, Adv Selby Mbenenge SC, stated that “the guilt of the employee [Breytenbach] on this plethora of charges has not been proven and she can therefore not be found guilty”. Earlier this week, the NPA fastidiously explained in an unrelated media statement how and when it will prosecute someone -­ and when not. According to the NPA, “the existence or lack of evidence plays a critical role in the final decision”. The same criteria were apparently not applied when the NPA brought disciplinary charges against Breytenbach. In relation to the primary charge of failing to act impartially whilst investigating a matter involving a mining rights dispute between Kumba Iron Ore and Imperial Crown Trading, Mbenenge found that there was not “an iota of evidence” that Breytenbach acted improperly. Why then did the NPA continue with disciplinary measures against her with conviction?

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Assessment of Compliance of Election Manifestos for the 2024 South African National Elections with the Bill of Rights

The assessment of 17 parties aims to evaluate how well each manifesto aligns with the Constitution’s core values, with a particular emphasis on compliance with the Bill of Rights.