NPA decision on SARS-rogue unit charges commended – Glynnis Breytenbach

DA MP says accused suffered irreparable reputational damage and public and private humiliation

DA commends NPA decision on SARS-rogue unit charges

8 February 2020

The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes the withdrawal of charges against Mr Ivan Pillay, Mr Andries Janse Van Rensburg and Mr Johann van Loggerenberg by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP).

Having appointed a panel of senior and expert prosecutors to evaluate the case docket and the available and admissible evidence, according to the correct principles and practices to be applied in all cases by a NPA doing its job diligently, they reached the conclusion that there was no prima facie case to be made against the accused, and therefore no prospect of a successful prosecution.

The NDPP,  having appraised herself personally of the relevant facts, as she must,  agreed with the evaluation and instructed the charges to be withdrawn.

This is how a Prosecuting Authority must go about its business. Scrupulously fairly,  scrupulously diligently. It is not a game.  Shamila Batohi has made not only the correct decision, but a courageous one.  It indicates a NPA getting back on the tracks of the rule of law.

But it cannot end there.

Each of the accused is a person in their own right.  Each held positions of some authority in institutions involved in upholding the law, and the rule of law. Each lost their employment and  have been impoverished by the very high costs of litigation, while their (and our) tax rands were used to litigate against them. Each has suffered irreparable reputational damage and public and private humiliation with the concomitant effects on everyday life and the lives of their families. This at the hands of (some in) an institution and a system that, when applied diligently, fairly and with absolute integrity, is meant to protect all South Africans from such abuse.

This cannot be undone.

If Ms Batohi is serious about the  rule of law and the integrity of the NPA,  then we must now also see the most serious consequences being visited upon those senior officials in the NPA  who instituted and drove this, and the many other, prosecutions that had no legal basis.

Issued by Glynnis Breytenbach, DA Shadow Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, 8 February 2020